26th out of 36 books — 25 voters
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(showing 1-30 of 51)
A lyrical mix of West African folklore, New World historical fact and one of the more hallucinatory renderings of the Middle Passage that I've ever come across. Gleason's prose is sometime lush to a fault. Long sections of exposition are so mired in poetry that simply going from one town to the next can be a near impenetrable proposition. Whether this stylistic device is intentionally evocative of 18th century Dahomey or early 19th century Brazil or 20th century post-colonial theory, I honestly ...more
Aug 12, 2011 Asma Fedosia rated it 5 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Recommended to Asma Fedosia by: Marieke
This is the story of Agõtĩme, a Dahomean queen, who became part of the exodus of slaves from West Africa to Brazil. She is a historical figure, a legend, as well as this book's main character. Part I recounts the real country of Dahomey (modern-day Benin)--the intertwined royal heritage, religious cult of Water Spirit vodũ, and divination system of Fa. One of many wives of the former king, Agõtĩme is not the new king's favorite, being outspoken and independent, and consequently becomes part of t ...more