This novel traces the return of two men to their home town in Sierra Leone after the civil war. The town is near a diamond mine which adds to the troubled rebuilding of the society. It is a story of disappointment rather than one of rebirth.
At its heart, this is a political novel pointing out the problems of rebuilding after war, of corporate influences and of particular societal problems in Sierra Leone and other parts of Western Africa. Anyone interested in understanding more about these challenges would be interested in this book.
The challenge with novels like this, which are more about politics and ideas, is making the writing engaging. While this novel is not a page-turner and may not be universally loved, it is an important novel in this subject matter.
While the subject matter is compelling and there is plenty of conflict in this novel, the writing style did not grab me. The book jacket describes it as being “dreamlike” but I found this style to be a barrier to fully engaging with the characters and setting. It is not that the writing is unclear, but I did find it somewhat lacking in style. While the subject matter is compelling and there is plenty of conflict, I liked it but I didn’t love it.
Reviewed by Andrew MacPherson