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24 Reviews
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courageous and inspiring
I enjoyed this book for several reasons. Firstly the quality of the writing which captures the essence of an African childhood and beautifully portrays events through the eyes of a child, without loosing any of the journalistic rigour.
Secondly the sadness and the depth of the central story itself and the strength of mind it must have taken to revisit such a painful...
Published on 14 May 2002

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3.0 out of 5 stars not want I expected
I found this book to be more a history of Sierra Leone than a look at the life of the author. Hard going.
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forna's Devil, 8 Nov 2012
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It took me a while to get into this memoir, which I read after I had read the author's "The Memory of Love," probably a more accomplished work. In the end, however, Ms Forna's book transported me back to those dreadful times in Sierra Leone when the seeds of subsequent disasters were sown. Lovingly written, the book also painted the picture of what Sierra Leone was like for a privileged young boy or girl growing up in a beautiful country before the beginning of the descent. This is a contemporary history text that should be standard reading for anyone interested also in understanding the nature of love, courage and betrayal in a background of the politics of evil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir (Paperback)
Having read a small artical in the paper, so I got the books, and glad I did they are beautifully written books, and I found out Aminatta Forna just lived across the road from me and dident know
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and moving, 3 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir (Paperback)
Forna's book is a fascinating account, one that people of all races, nationalities, ages, etc. will appreciate. It is a diary, a history textbook and an adventure all in one book. You will not be disappointed. It is beautifully written by an incredibly grounded woman who has experienced a traumatic childhood. Yet through all of this she manages to retain the innocence of childhood. The book seems disjointed at times, but it is done that way on purpose and is effective because it is evocative of her confusing childhood and fuzzy memories of what happened to her father. Forna deserves thanks and praise for embarking on her quest and for writing this book. The best way to thank her is by experiencing her story. And you will not read this book, you will experience it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting autobiography, 13 May 2014
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Dr. B. Prynn - See all my reviews
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Aminatta's biography is a fascinating one, moving from her early childhood in Scotland to Sierra Leone and then back and forth between the UK and Africa. The story of her father's life and death is well told and the tragedy of his destruction is described in a moving way. Her life as a child in Africa and at school in England is also well delineated, and the difficulties with peers at school in England and within her family in Africa are well presented. The book could have done with some editing as in part it reads as though it has just been written without sufficient structure to the narration. However, all in all it is an interesting read, both politically and emotionally.
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4.0 out of 5 stars memories, 7 April 2014
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Brought up various memories of my living in West Africa and Aberdeen. I could feel her pain and pleasure but memory can be very selective
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3.0 out of 5 stars not want I expected, 8 Feb 2014
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Amazon Customer (Borders, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I found this book to be more a history of Sierra Leone than a look at the life of the author. Hard going.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will stay with me forever, 8 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir (Paperback)
This is one of those books that will haunt me forever. Amazing story - wonderfully told and beautifully portrayed. Tragically beautiful.......!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Window on a Forgotten Tragedy, 28 Aug 2013
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Justine (HCMC, Vietnam) - See all my reviews
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I caught an interview with Aminatta Forna on TV and my interest was piqued by the discussion so I downloaded this book. I had never heard of Mohamed Forna, her father, who was briefly Minister of Finance in the government of Siaka Stevens in Sierra Leone in the 70's, but who resigned in protest at the corruption he witnessed, and went on to found a separate political party- an act which made him an enemy of Stevens and his henchmen, and ultimately led to his death sentence for treason. Aminatta Forna's journey to discover the truth surrounding the events which resulted in her father's execution in 1975 is an unsentimental but deeply moving narrative that takes the reader back to the period of Sierra Leonian independence, and chronicles the trajectory of the country from the early days of naive idealism to the greed, corruption and violence which eventually culminated in a decade of civil war that all but destroyed the country. The blend of personal narrative and historical record, often told through the voices of witnesses whom Aminatta Forna tracks down and interviews, forms a powerful and gripping story that is hard to put down. The book is divided into 2 parts: the first is Aminatta's memory of her early childhood- fascinating in itself as she is the daughter of a Sierra Leonian father and a Scottish mother, and spent her childhood shuttling between Freetown and London, sometimes in exile from the regime. This part of her life and of the book ends when she is 10 years old, on the day her father is taken away for the last time. The second part explores Mohamed Forna's political life, placing him in the context of what was happening in the country generally, and examines the role played by Mohamed and and his contemporaries in the years before and during the presidency of Siaka Stevens. In order to compile such a record, and especially, in order to discover the exact sequence of events which led to her father's arrest and subsequent execution, Aminatta makes several visits to the country which are themselves hair-raising in parts and show the extreme difficulty of the task she undertook, even 25 years after the events she is researching. The result is a book which both grips and informs, reading often like a thriller (and with the trial and execution itself saved for the ending); the colours and smells of Africa, and the fear and tension seep through so that the reader is completely immersed in her world. My only gripe about the Kindle edition is that there are one or two missing or misplaced pages (where a page clearly does not connect to the one before it) and this was annoying. Otherwise, this is a sad, beautiful and very powerful story that sucks you in and haunts your imagination for many days after finishing it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars king, funny wriite, 27 April 2013
This review is from: The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir (Paperback)
Written from the heart a true historical family and country novel. Heartbreaking and funny written with great wit and style
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sad a country can be manipulated by few rotten fools., 18 Mar 2013
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This book is well written that allows people like me born before the Soros Forna and fourteen others time understands how corrupt Sierra Leone really was and still is regard less.
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The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir
The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir by Aminatta Forna (Paperback - 12 Mar 2010)
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