The Hundred Wells Of Salaga | Ayesha Harruna Attah
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 234, paperback
Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
A Short Summary(Blurb): Aminah lives an idyllic life until she is brutally separated from her home and forced on a journey that turns 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 region, during the height of the slave trade at the end of the 19th century. Set in pre-colonial Ghana, The Hundred Wells of Salaga is a story of courage, forgiveness, love, and freedom. Through the experiences of Aminah and Wurche, it offers a remarkable view of slavery and how the scramble for Africa affected the lives of everyday people.
4 out of 5 stars
I would have given this book 5 stars if the writer had gone full Danielle Steele on us and ended on a sad note. Once in a while, you just gotta follow through and rip the heart out of your readers. That being said, I really enjoyed The Hundred Wells Of Salaga.
It’s my first time meeting this writer who I now love. For her third piece of fiction, Ayesha Harruna Attah explores the complicated history of pre-colonial 19th-century Ghana through the eyes of two young women, Wurche and Aminah.
Salaga is a bustling town in northern Ghana and a notorious slave-trading center, its 100 wells built so slaves can be washed before sale.
I can’t talk about it too much because this story needs to be experienced first-hand. One of the strengths of the novel is that it complicates the idea of what “African history” is.
With movies like Black Panther re-packaging the culture and lifestyle as a spectacle, Attah emphasizes the often overlooked distinctions of religion, language, and status. She skillfully portrays this volatile, doomed civilization and has a careful eye for domestic and historical detail. It’s brilliant!
The era is an interesting choice for a novel, and while the dialogue became a little too cliché for me, it is heartwarming to see a broader set of themes for once.
The sensuous writing of Ayesha Harruna Attah will immerse you in the rhythms, relationships, desires and struggles in these women’s lives. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, guys!