Books! What would we do without them? The importance of books cannot be overemphasized without speaking its role in transferring knowledge and being a mode of communication.
Today, Green Views brings you some very interesting Ghanaian literature that may give insight to the culture, norms, attitudes, traditions and psychology of the ordinary Ghanaian. Knowledge of these will arm non-Ghanaians who are not familiar with dealing with Ghanaian people and so you don’t get overly surprised; teaching values, raising issues and concerns and giving a cultural perspective to issues are some of the benefits you will get by reading some of these books.
Many of these books that are going to be mentioned here are of the fictitious category and have gained reputation even so far as to win international literature prizes.
7 books worth to read from Ghanaian writers
It is noteworthy that the books going to be recommended will be in no particular order or ranking.
The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born – Ayi Kwei Armah
The plot is set in the era of the overthrow of Ghana’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah – specifically, a day after his overthrow in 1965. Faced with the temptation of an unsolicited bribe, a railway station worker decided against taking the bribe. This unnamed protagonist had to face the consequences of his action – guilt, despite his innocence and a wife burning red with fury. This work of fiction captures some true events that occurred in the 60s and gives its readers a vivid throwback of actual historically important occurrences in Ghana. The elected government has been overthrown and corruption is everywhere, economic outlook is not great. This presents a great challenge to the unnamed protagonist. Find out how he survives.
Changes – Ama Ata Aidoo
Changes chronicles a period of the life of a career-centred African woman (Esi) as she divorces her first husband (Oko) and marries into a polygamist (Ali) believing it holds the freedom she desires. Their families are reluctant to agree to the marriage but subsequently soften their stance and they eventually get married. However, Esi finds herself becoming more dependent on Ali’s affection but Ali keeps disappearing and bribing her with expensive gifts to make up for his absence whiles he keeps spending more time with his attractive new secretary. Esi had to spend Christmas alone, taking sleeping pills to rein in her deep sense of abandonment. Her best friend’s husband came to look for his wife in her house when she there alone; they end up kissing and even considers sleeping with him. Would Esi betray her friend? Would she be able to fix her life? Take a read and find out.
The Housegirl – Amma Darko
A dead baby and bloodstained clothes are discovered in a small village. Although everyone has a theory about the story behind the abandoned infant, the men’s view differ significantly from the women’s. The tale presents the dilemma of seven different women caught in the web of superstition, ignorance, greed and corruption.
Children of the Street – Kwei Quartey
In the slums of Accra, Ghana’s fast-moving cosmopolitan capital, teenagers are turning up dead. Inspector Darko Dawson has seen many crimes, but this latest sting of murders – in which all the young victims bear a chilling signature – is the most unsettling in his career. Are the heinous acts a form of ritual killing or the work of a lone, cold-blooded monster? With time running out, Dawson embarks on a harrowing journey through the city’s underbelly and confronts the brutal world of the urban poor, where street children are forced to fight for their very survival –and a cunning killer seems just out of reach.
Hundred Wells of Salaga – Ayesha Harruna Attah
Based on true events, a story of courage, forgiveness, love and freedom in precolonial Ghana, told through the eyes of two women born to vastly different fates.
Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that transforms her from a daydreamer into a resilient woman. Wurche, the willful daughter of a chief, is desperate to play an important role in her father’s court. These two women’s lives converge as infighting among Wurche’s people threatens the reion, during the height of the slave trade at the end of the nineteenth century.
Through the experiences of Aminah and Wurche, The Hundred Wells of Salaga offers a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.
Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of the story follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other follows Esi and her children into America. From the great migration from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the Jazz clubs and the dope houses of the twentieth century, down to present day. Homegoing shows how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
Ghana Must Go! – Taiye Selasi
The death of Kweku Sai, a renowned surgeon, in Ghana launches a series of events in his family’s life. Although he has left them behind, his wife Fola and their four children – Olu, Kehinde, Taiwo and Sadie – are left to deal with the repercussions of his passing and reconcile the conflicts he created. In the moment of his death, Kweku takes the audience through the time he did share with his family – from the youngest daughter, Sadie’s, birth to the doomed surgery that tanked his career and circumstances that pushed him to leave. Fola, tried bringing the family together under one roof and they had to deal with the pain and obstacles their father’s demise had brought them as well as events that have divided the family. On their reconciliation journey, read and see how they were able to weather the storm.