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Sankofa: A Novel (Hardcover)
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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 moving and hopeful novel of self-discovery for readers of An American Marriage.
Examing 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.
Anna is at a stage of her life when she's beginning to wonder who she really is. 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.
About the Author
Chibundu Onuzo was born in Lagos, Nigeria and lives in London. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and regular contributor to The Guardian, she is the winner of a Betty Trask Award, has been shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Commonwealth Book Prize, and the RSL Encore Award, and has been longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and Etisalat Literature Prize. She is the author of Welcome to Lagos, and Sankofa is her third novel.
A Library Journal Title to Watch
"Onuzo displays astonishing imagination and versatility in this fantastic novel about a woman’s search for her personal, familial and national identity, delivered with deadpan humor in captivating prose." —Sefi Atta
"The slick pacing and unpredictable developments—especially in the depiction of Anna’s enigmatic father—keep the reader alert right up to the novel’s exhilarating ending . . . Onuzo lifts the narrative into an entirely unexpected space. She shows that the healing of fractures and a desire for wholeness can be achieved in the most unexpected of places." —Michael Donkar, The Guardian
"Onuzo’s clean prose highlights the novel’s hopeful contours." —Estelle Tang, BuzzFeed
"Sankofa asks all the right questions about how our parents shape our lives." —Refinery29
"A fascinating story of family, diaspora, and identity." —Emily Burack, Alma
"A novel poised to be as moving as it is witty." —Liza Mullett, Cultured Magazine
"While Sankofa examines serious subjects of race, and roots, it’s also a page-turner leavened with its fair share of humor." —Amazon Book Review
"An enjoyably readable novel that raises questions of belonging and the search for personal roots." —Lauren Bufferd, BookPage
"An engagingly written journey of self-discovery." —Kirkus Reviews
"A riveting, gracefully spare novel of self-discovery . . . Onuzo skillfully builds an authentic but unusual midlife reckoning. Her astute portrait of a woman attempting to find her way to her future by mining the past mirrors the mythical creature from which the story takes its title, a bird that flies forward while looking backward . . . Onuzo shows that making peace with the past can be a starting point toward self-acceptance, and that imperfect families can find common ground in unexpected ways." —Shelf Awareness
"Unscrupulous politicians, irresponsible journalism, and the yawning gap between rich and poor feel deeply personal as Anna’s journey unfolds . . . Fresh and new." —Library Journal
"Spellbinding . . . Onuzu’s spare style elegantly cuts to the core of her themes. The balancing of Anna’s soul-searching with her thrilling discoveries makes for a satisfying endeavor." —Publishers Weekly
"An engaging, intelligent novel that disassembles the pieces of a woman's identity and puts them back together in a new pattern, shuffling the boundaries of the personal, political, and historical." —Aysegul Savas, author of Walking on the Ceiling and White on White
Praise for Chibundu Onuzo:
"Astounding . . . Onuzo stands on the shoulders of Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and from her perch offers her own fresh, but assured view." —Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners