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Ancestor Stones

by Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna's The Devil That Danced on the Water was a rapturously acclaimed, moving, and gorgeously written memoir that garnered international attention. Now she has seamlessly turned her hand to fiction, and delivers a novel that is lush and beautiful, a touching and intimate portrait of the lives of a family of independent, spirited African women over the last century of dramatic cultural change. A young woman who has lived in England for many years, Abie has followed the arc of a letter back to West Africa, to the coffee groves of Kholifa Estates, the plantation formerly owned by her grandfather. It is a place she remembers from childhood and that now belongs to her if she wants it. Standing among the ruined groves she strains to hear the sound of the past, but the layers of years in between then and now are too many. So begins her gathering of the family's history through the tales of her aunts. This is the story of four lives. Asana, Mariama, Hawa, and Serah Kholifa were born to the different wives of a wealthy plantation owner in an Africa where change was just beginning to arrive. Asana, a lost twin and the head-wife's daughter. Hawa, a motherless child and manipulator of her own misfortune. Mariama, who sees what lies beyond this world. And Serah, follower of a Western-made dream. Stretching across generations and set against the backdrop of a country's descent into free fall, Ancestor Stones is a stunning novel about understanding the past and how stories ancient and new shape who we become, a book that offers a different way of seeing the world we share. It is the story of a nation, a family, and four women's attempts to quietly alter the course of their own

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