A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK | AN AMAZON BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
“A beautiful exploration of the often complex parameters of freedom, prejudice, and individual sense of self. Chibundu Onuzo has written a captivating story about a mixed-race British woman who goes in search of the West African father she never knew . . . [A] beautiful book about a woman brave enough to discover her true identity.” —Reese Witherspoon
“Onuzo’s sneakily breezy, highly entertaining novel leaves the reader rethinking familiar narratives of colonization, inheritance and liberation.” —The New York Times Book Review
Named a Best Book of the Month by Entertainment Weekly, Harper's Bazaar, and Time • Named a Most Anticipated Book of the Month by Goodreads, PopSugar, PureWow, LitHub, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and Buzzfeed
A woman wondering who she really is goes in search of a father she never knew—only to find something far more complicated than she ever expected—in this “stirring narrative about family, our capacity to change and the need to belong” (Time).
Anna is at a stage of her life when she's beginning to wonder who she really is. In her 40s, she has separated from her husband, her daughter is all grown up, and her mother—the only parent who raised her—is dead.
Searching through her mother's belongings one day, Anna finds clues about the African father she never knew. His student diaries chronicle his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London. Anna discovers that he eventually became the president—some would say dictator—of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive...
When Anna decides to track her father down, a journey begins that is disarmingly moving, funny, and fascinating. Like the metaphorical bird that gives the novel its name, Sankofa expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present to address universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for a family's hidden roots.
Examining freedom, prejudice, and personal and public inheritance, Sankofa is a story for anyone who has ever gone looking for a clear identity or home, and found something more complex in its place.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In Ghana, a sankofa is a mythical bird that symbolizes the idea of discovering the past in order to move forward. That’s the journey fortysomething biracial Londoner Anna embarks on. Reeling from the end of her marriage and the death of her mother, Anna discovers that the father she never met was once the president of a small African nation. Without any notion of what to expect, she flies to meet her dad, setting off a midlife crisis story unlike any other we’ve ever read. Nigerian author Chibundu Onuzo fills her novel with sharp insights into family tensions, racial issues, colonial politics, personal identities, and all the ways these things intersect. Anna is an incredibly sympathetic, relatable heroine, and we loved following her as she untangles her family’s history. Wise, moving, and often quite funny, Sankofa is a warmhearted story of self-discovery.
A middle-aged, mixed-race woman struggles with several crises in Nigerian writer Onuzu's spellbinding latest (after Welcome to Lagos). Anna Bain is a 46-year-old Londoner whose mother, Bronwen, has just died, whose husband has been unfaithful, and who has been leading a lackluster life as a housewife. Following her white mother's funeral, she stumbles upon a diary written in the 1960s by her West African father, Francis Aggrey, hidden in a trunk. Francis left London before Anna's birth, and Bronwen raised her. Anna learns that her father was an international student who had boarded with Bronwen's family and became part of a group of West African students agitating for freedom from colonial rule. After leaving London, Aggrey became a guerrilla fighter, independence leader, and eventually the first president of Bamana following independence. Anna then finds Francis's memoir (published under his new name, Kofi Adjei) in a university archive, meets with his biographer in Edinburgh, and eventually meets Kofi in Bamana, where she seeks to resolve her conflicts over her racial and cultural identity. Onuzu's spare style elegantly cuts to the core of her themes ("I felt at peace, as if indeed two warring streams had finally merged," Anna reflects). The balancing of Anna's soul-searching with her thrilling discoveries makes for a satisfying endeavor. Agent: Georgina Capel, Georgina Capel Assoc.
Hard to put this book down!
I read this book in a day (in about 6 hours) because I couldn’t put it down! The characters are compelling, the story has so many interesting and surprising twists and turns, and the writing is so captivating. You feel like you’re in the protagonist’s head. If you’re not sure whether or not to read this book, then I’d recommend reading it! It’s an original story that is funny, sad, suspenseful, and delightful. I can’t wait to read more novels by Onuzo! She’s brilliant!
This is a beautiful story! Loved it so much!