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Housemaid

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Anna Darko

Bukuru is the witness to the suicidal drowning of a young woman, and finds himself accused of her murder. Nigerian author Okey Ndibe's novel is a not only a humorous tale of misunderstanding, but a parable about Africa in the 21st century.

Tags: Books, Fiction, African Fiction, Ghana, Pastoral Fiction
Author: Anna Darko
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Heinemann
Date Published: January 13, 1999
1 review about Housemaid

A sad, strange tale

  • Feb 19, 2004
Rating:
+5
Pros: Definitely not something I would have stumbled upon myself (which is good)

Cons: Not sure about the endingÂ…

The Bottom Line: Sure, go for it - it's not like you're going to lose anything from giving it a try.

The Housemaid. It’s quite interesting really, and another book that was on my list of things to read for my Women in Africa class. After Dreams of Trespass I was interested to see what this book had to offer.

It’s not a very long book – it’s only 107 pages. If you’re a fast reader there’s a chance you might have it all read in one sitting. I read it in two. Because it’s quite small with a pretty straightforward, easy to read way about it, there’s not too much to say.

Written by Amma Darko, who has also produced Beyond the Horizon and Faceless, this book is set in Ghana (where Darko currently lives), though it switches from the city to the rural areas consisting of small villages. It is near one of these villages a dead baby is found and everyone everywhere is outraged that a mother would do such a thing. The search goes out for her, and then time is rewound so that we can see how all this has come about. It turns out that several different women contributed to this mess in some shape or form, with a short twist you won’t expect.

The book is split up into 2 parts and has 12 chapters. Part 1 contains only chapter 1, but we are given a good deal of quick information within it. The dead baby is found and we get to see many people’s speculations on it – particularly the men’s and women’s different views. Then bloodstained clothes are found near the site and taken to the police, who then find a girl named Akua who knows who the clothes belong to – a girl named Efia, and the last time Akua saw Efia, she was pregnant.

Then Part 2 begins and remains for the rest of the book, containing the other 11 chapters. We go all the way back to where this sad and terrible chain of events started and are able to see how it evolved into the death of a baby. It paints a sad picture of women who are all different – greedy, poor, vengeful, or just trying to help.

You almost won’t believe the things that go on in this book half the time, and when we find out who’s baby it is and why she abandoned it, it might be something you hadn’t expected. I'm not going to point anything out only because this book is so short and I don't like giving much away. My only issue was that the end was kind of odd - but it works.

I thought this book was pretty good and since I don’t usually read things like this, I thought it was a nice change of pace. You should take a look see – just borrow it from your library if anything, and find out what you think.

NT

Recommended:
Yes

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