The Devil That Danced on the Water: A Daughter's Memoir Paperback – 12 Mar 2010
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‘This is a book of quite extraordinary power and beauty. Aminatta Forna has excavated not only her memory but the hidden recesses of the heart.’ Fergal Keane
‘An extraordinary and gripping story…Aminatta Forna’s book glows with compassion. A modern classic, of which her courageous father would have been proud.’ Peter Gowin, author of ‘Mukiwa’
‘An engrossing account of pain, love and discovery that had the capacity not only to make me understand but also to move me to tears’ Gillian Slovo, author of ‘Every Secret Thing’
‘I had tears in my eyes almost the whole way through, although it is the least sentimental of books…Aminatta Forna manages, quite brilliantly, to evoke not only all the honour and pity that is in her family’s story, but its beauty and tenderness too.’ Katie Hickman, author of ‘Daughters of Britannia’
From the Publisher
A daughter's memoir of her father, her family, her country and a continent. 'A memoir to stand alongside Wild Swans a book about love and the power to endure' Fergal Keane --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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 past, to seek out the truth.
It is a truly good read, I could not put it down, Even when I had finished I wondered about the impact of this story not only on one woman, but on a country.
Dr. Forna, Aminetta's father, a surgeon from Sierra Leone, met and married her Scottish mother when studying in Aberdeen. Aminetta recalls an early childhood in Scotland as well as a later childhood in Sierra Leone. With a blend of tenderness and harsh reality she remembers the best and the worst of these experiences.
Characters once thought to be mean and threatening are recognised through more mature eyes to be simply those who thwarted a childhood insistence on having everything her own way. Scoundrels are recognised, but with a keen insight into the human frailties that make them such.
Dr. Forna's love for his country led him to accept a leadership role in governing it. It is Aminetta Forna's search for the facts surounding his rise and eventual tragic fall that is the essence of this narrative.
Not only a talented observer Ms. Forna has a knack for exquisite expression in relating the facts uncovered.
As a reader I found myself giving a great sigh as I concluded the final page late at night feeling I had personally lived every instance.
British Virgin Islands
I applaud you Aminatta because of your courage,love and undeniable strength of spirit in writing this book. It is a vivid account of the modern face/history of Sierra Leone from our own perspective. I mean a Sierra Leonean perpective, because we've lived it, felt all the pain and anguish of the Sierra Leone of today founded on the grounds of coruption, deceit, selfishness and thirst for absolute power, incepted by Siaka Stevens and Co.
I am still hopeful for the best. S.Leone will one day be a place of peace as She once was. Aminatta, despite all that has happened we are still poducts of this beautiful country I therefore see it as a special mission to help the people develop in a positive way,in a non-political contribution. Many thanks.
It is a great story - and a universal one. It isn't really about Africa at all - although you will learn a great deal about that continent and its fate - it really is about inhumanity, humanity, courage and the quest for truth.
Aminatta is the youngest of three children of a father from Sierra Leone who trained in medicine in Aberdeen, Scotland, and a Scottish mother. Her story takes in the movements of her family from her birth in Aberdeen and the family's move to Sierra Leone, and works through the developments when her father, a dedicated and altrusitic doctor, is drawn into the political process in an attempt to bring democracy to his country, which has moved from colonialism to uni-party politics from autocrats and dictators. The desperate corruption of despots and the quashing of political dissent are drawn with shocking candour and palpable emotion.
Along the way, Forna paints a vivid picture of a vast continent teeming with beautiful natural life - barren, dust-laden expanses of land, rural Africans living a life similar to that led by their ancestors centuries ago, and wildlife such as ants and snakes teeming across the dry parched land. She paints fascinating pictures of rural village life and ancient traditions such as chieftancy elections and the hierarchies of multiple wives.
Forna writes well and expresses with potency the feelings and thoughts of a young girl watching her father. There are funny anecdotes from her youth as well as moving and traumatic ones, and she captures the innocence of childhood with ease.
The stories from the days when her father practised medicine for long hours in his clinic are fascinating because of the contrast with our own western practice, and his dedication to helping others comes through clearly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very accurate descriptives of a rich and beautiful peoples and places.Published 17 days ago by Amber
This was a very courageous story. I read it for the second time now and learned a lot from the history of those years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Absolutely fantastic book, very interesting, insightful, and extremely well written. A fascinating story, very highly recommended.Published 9 months ago by Jessica Hamer
VERY GOOD. I LOVE THIS BOOK AS I CAN RELATE TO IT. IT BRING BACK MEMORIES, SOME GOOD SOME BADPublished 11 months ago by Madonna S.
Beautifully written as usual, never disappoints. I waited for this book and read it on kindle but it's a book you wish you had on the shelf to look through again and again. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Kathleen Uziel
Excellent close-up on the venality of corruption in African politics but the author burdened the reader with so many specifics and personalities that it was sometimes hard to keep... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Aine Allen
Autobiography, where the author revisits her childhood; as daughter of a Sierra Leone doctor and his Scottish wife, life becomes highly dangerous when her father becomes involved... Read morePublished 15 months ago by sally tarbox
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