From the award-winning author: A “wonderfully ambitious” novel of West Africa, told through the struggles and dreams of four extraordinary women (The Guardian).
When a cousin offers Abie her family’s plantation in the West African village of Rofathane in Sierra Leone, she leaves her husband, children, and career in London to reclaim the home she left behind long ago. With the help of her four aunts—Asana, Mariama, Hawa, and Serah—Abie begins a journey to uncover the past of her family and her home country, buried among the neglected coffee plants.
From rivalries between local chiefs and religious leaders to arranged marriages, manipulative unions, traditional desires, and modern advancements, Abie’s aunts weave a tale of a nation’s descent into chaos—and their own individual struggles to claim their destiny.
Hailed by Marie Claire as “a fascinating evocation of the experience of African women, and all that has been gained—and lost—with the passing of old traditions,” Ancestor Stones is a powerful exploration of family, culture, heritage, and hope.
“This is [Forna’s] first novel, but it is too sophisticated to read like one.” —The Guardian
Acclaimed memoirist Forna (The Devil That Danced on the Water) glides into fiction with this sweeping portrayal of the lives of five Sierra Leonean women. Abie a young woman born and raised in Sierra Leone, who now lives in London with her Portuguese-Scottish husband and their children receives a letter from her aunts informing her they're bequeathing her the family coffee plantation. When Abie returns, her aunts offer her another gift: their stories. A native of Sierra Leone, Forna unpacks Abie's family history (and that of Sierra Leone) using the alternating points of view of Abie's four aunts Asana, Mary, Hawa and Serah. Asana outlives two husbands and eventually opens her own store, "relinquishing the birthright of womanhood in exchange for the liberty of a man." Mary addresses the changes brought to Africa by the Europeans (prominent among them, the mirror she uses to examine her disfigured face). Hawa trades her gold earrings for bus fare in order to see the sea just once in her life. And Serah opens a voting station during corrupt national elections. Though it's a stretch to call this a novel (each chapter is a self-contained story), Forna's work sheds light on the history of a long-struggling nation.