A character you'll never forget
by Carl S on October 8, 2011Aminita will be a character burned onto your heart forever. The main character of "The Book of Negroes" (published in the U.S. as "Someone Knows My Name") is a strong, heroic woman. Her history will touch you and leave you changed.
The title is based on a little-known document, the book of negroes, which recorded the names and descriptions of 3,000 African-American slaves who escaped to the British lines during the American Revolution and were evacuated by British ships to points in Nova Scotia as freedmen.
The story itself revolves around Aminita, from her childhood in an African village to her status as a revered but misunderstood symbol of abolition.
The book is unstoppable reading, simply hard to put down.
You travel step-by-step with Aminita, and the journey is harrowing, joyful and ultimately worthwhile.
Here is an excerpt, a small sample of Mr. Hill's evocative writing.
'Let me begin with a caveat to any and all who find these pages. Do not trust large bodies of water, and do not cross them. If you, Dear Reader, have an African hue and find yourself led toward water with vanishing shores, seize your freedom by any means necessary. And cultivate distrust of the colour pink. Pink is taken as the colour of innocence, the colour of childhood, but as it spills across the water in the light of the dying sun, do not fall into its pretty path. There, right underneath, lies a bottomless graveyard of children, mothers and men. I shudder to imagine all the Africans rocking in the deep. Every time I have sailed the seas, I have had the sense of gliding over the unburied. Some people call the sunset a creation of extraordinary beauty, and proof of God's existence. But what benevolent force would bewitch the human spirit by choosing pink to light the path of a slave vessel?'
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