Top critical review
I think Roots is a great piece of work
on 4 February 2016
I think Roots is a great piece of work, the story of one of the greatest crimes against a people, put into the form of a crime against a person. The idea that its a true tale of a real family in America just adds to the attraction. I don't know how historically accurate it actually is, but I don't think it matters that much . The only problem for me is that it isn't very well written. The style of prose is rather like a school child's 'What I did at the weekend' . but its the description of detail that lets the book down. I never felt for a moment that I was in The Gambia. What was it like? The sounds, the smell, the heat? The enormous sky, the endless forest and grassland? And again, the terrible experience of being in a slave ship, rather than making me recoil in horror, I was too often wondering what was going on. I could never really see what it was like for kunta Kinte in that ship's hold, Haley just doesn't open it up to us. He uses words like stench and heat , over and over but good writing needs more than that. A stench like what? And what kind of heat? There are also some awkward parts of the narrative where Haley tries to tell us what is being said in an English speaking world through the experience of an African. But in the end a very good book and Haley pulls off his incredible challenge.