I was a little late coming to this book, which earned such acclaim when it was a Canada Reads selection a few years ago. But after heaing Lawrence Hill read at the Writers at Woody Point festival this summer, I knew I couldn’t resist it any longer.
The Book of Negroes (for U.S. readers, you’ll find it published in your country under the title Someone Knows My Name) is an absolute gem of a historical novel. It’s the story of Aminata Dialla, a young African girl stolen from her home by slave traders in the eighteenth century. Shipped to the New World, she has to adjust to the loss of everything she’s ever known and a new life as a slave — but her adventures are far from over.
Hill creates Aminata’s first-person voice as one that is vivid, compelling, and haunting. I found this book not only exposed the horrors of the slave trade, but created both a sweeping vision of the world at a particular point in history, and an intimate portrait of an unforgettable character.