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Africa Junction Paperback – 12 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846554608
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846554605
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 753,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Ginny Baily's first novel is a thrilling ride. It takes in large issues of armed conflict and epidemics, and small ones of private, tender emotion. It is always exactly conceived and precise, and it grips the reader throughout. Original, memorable and warm, this will be one of the most striking debuts of 2011" (Philip Hensher)

"Africa Junction takes the many threads that bind or separate its characters and weaves them into a compelling story. Ginny Baily opens a door onto the harsh, dazzling landscapes of Senegal and Mali, the anguish of children sold into slavery by their parents, the determination of a boy to find his sister, and the mystery of friendship between two girls whose lives soon tear them apart. Africa Junction beautifully expresses the search for survival, love and meaning that drives each one of Baily's characters" (Helen Dunmore)

"Ginny Baily writes with perception and insight, telling the stories of her many characters with great skill and eventually weaving them together into a satisfying whole. She clearly knows Africa and the people who live there, as her affection and understanding shine out. It's a compelling read, carrying you along effortlessly, each section creating its own momentum long before the connections become clear" (Clare Morrall)

"A great story; touching, elegantly written, very human, very sincere." (Joan Harris)

"A novel of grave emotional weight and colour. Whether she describes terrible or magical events, to read Ginny Baily is to pick up riches in every paragraph... It's a rare achievementA novel of grave emotional weight and colour. Whether she describes terrible or magical events, to read Ginny Baily is to pick up riches in every paragraph... It's a rare achievement" (Sam North)

Book Description

A brilliantly constructed first novel following a young woman's quest for redemption set against the kaleidoscopic backdrop of modern Africa.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Pullum on 12 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a very good read. Through the experiences of the main character, Adele, from child to mother, we are taken from the English west country to Senegal and Mali. Adele revisits her home in Africa, searching for her childhood friend. There are several threads to the story, contrasting in setting and emotion. From two english children squabbling in Devon to an african girl's fight for survival against her captors who would force her into prostitution, to the ex colonel in the liberian civil war, now a humble caretaker. We are shown the long lasting effects of conflict on human relations. We are shown the worst of humanity and also the best. It's a rare weave of joy and darkness, beauty and menace, wonderful description and insight. It's well researched, well crafted and a delight to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nendle on 1 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
This wonderful novel brings several different narratives together in a beautifully written series of episodes. At its centre is the quest of a young British woman, Adele, who is searching for her childhood friend, Ellena. Adele's story is interwoven with tales of other people and other searches, all of whom are linked and it is only towards the end of the novel that the reader finds out how and why. Ginny Baily takes us to the heart of her characters, revealing their desires, their fears and their weaknesses through her carefully crafted prose. She also gives us a visceral and gripping experience of Africa, taking us to Mali, Senegal, Liberia and Ethiopia over a span of several decades. This novel confronts us with serious questions about how to find meaning in our lives and how to give enough without giving away everything. You cannot fail to be moved by it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicky on 17 May 2011
Format: Paperback
I was totally drawn into 'Africa Junction' from page one. The first chapter is shocking and very powerful. Ginny Baily has the ability to capture your imagination through the power of her prose, which is often quite poetic. At times it is as though you are looking at part of a scene in close up and then the camera pans out slowly and you become aware of the larger picture. This process of discovery is characteristic of the novel, and this subtlety of approach is captivating. I really enjoyed the way the story moves back and forth in both time and place, building up the characters and the links between them. The main character, Adele, is a feisty individual, whose quest I seemed to join. I love this novel and I look forward to her next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Theresa on 15 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This HAS to be the perfect summer read. It is storytelling at its best with each character someone you would want to sit next to on a long train journey and now that I have finished I feel bereft without them! To have interwoven the stories of all these people is truly masterful. I love the way the chapters leap around between place, character and time and it is the first book I have read featuring conflict in Africa that has not made me feel like an outsider looking in. It is intimate, tragic, insightful, believable and ultimately wonderfully hopeful. The main joy of this novel is not just the marvellously human story, but also the beautiful prose. It really is a joy to read and is certainly my next book club choice!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teacher on 7 July 2011
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The characters are beautfully drawn, and the various African settings in particular are beautiful, vivid and true - but there is no sentimentality here. The events are skilfully interwoven; the narrative is not chronological and this allows the reader all sorts of insights into the rich cast of characters, as well as surprises. In addtion to being a compelling novel to read from beginning to end, each chapter stands on its own. After finishing it, I found myself wanting to return to individual chapters and realised that I was re-reading it almost straight away and enjoying it even more at this second visit. A sign of a great novel.
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Format: Paperback
Africa Junction is many stories and one story. The novel opens with seemingly separate characters, locations and decades, opening in war torn Liberia in 1990, jumping in the next chapter to Exeter, Devon in 2003, and then to Senegal in 1977. As chapter follows chapter exploring issues of dislocation and separation the threads become entwined into a marvellous tapestry of connectedness. I was taken to places I'd never been before and shared lives lived through starvation and civil wars in parched landscapes where everything was foreign to me. Reading Africa Junction offered both the excitement of travel and the terrible sadness of people whose lives encountered cruelties and hardships that are as alien to me as the histories they lived through. But part of the fascination of this novel, part of its achievement, is the way that these lives connect with Englishwoman Adele, struggling with single parenthood and teaching in Exeter. To say the novel works as a collection of short stories would not be entirely true, though the chapters, like short stories, can be read at one sitting and have a certain integrity. Yet Ginny Baily succeeds in creating an optimistic work of personal and global connectedness. I wept and laughed as I read and learnt a great deal about Africa which came so very close to my sitting room. I look forward to Ginny's next novel.
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