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Search Sweet Country

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A brilliant first novel from Ghana portraying a crucial period in the nation's history--a poet's story of Africa that has already provoked critical attention in Britain.
Paperback, 308 pages
Published November 1st 1988 by Faber & Faber (first published 1986)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  92 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers
Shelves: africa
Astonishing book! It's west African stream-of-consciousness. I've read it several times but have never finished it because it makes me have to put down the book and write, myself. I pick it up whenever I feel stuck, and it frees me. A wild, wild book.
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent stuff - very much worth checking out. If you are interested a quick google will bring up a number of good reviews from various newspapers etc that are worth reading if you are curious

Mcsweeny's just brought out a nice looking hardback from what I can see, so this obviously is no longer as buried as it once was.
Fatima mehjabin
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The review for this book has been posted on my blog:
Tony Gualtieri
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This strange and beautiful book, full of amazing imagery, is like nothing else I've ever read (except, of course, Major Gentl and the Achimota Wars, another novel by the same author with similar properties). There's no real plot, but there are several interwoven tales. The characters are memorable and differentiated, but the setting -- Accra in 1975 -- is the central figure of the book.

The prose is overwhelmed by a kaleidoscopic series of metaphor, anthropomorphism, proslepsis, hyperbole,
Leslie Street
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I wanted so much to love this book. When I read the introduction and Binyavanga Wainaina says,
"The finest novel written in English ever to come out of the African continent," I want to agree. But this book was much harder for me to get into than I thought. In fact, I had to start over and over again trying to read this book. It is not an easy read. But at the same time, I felt like I had to finish it. It took me a long time and a lot of concentration. When I got to the end, I realized it is
Kamila Kunda
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, fiction, own
What I look for in literature is comfort but also a window to a new world. Comfort of emotions I recognise, rather than familiar cultures. By window to a new world I mean the style of writing I dont feel comfortable with, that challenges me, that requires some effort from me. Kojo Laings Search Sweet Country is definitely a book the reading of which wasnt a breeze and which forced me to get out of my comfort zone.

The last decade saw a lot of debating and arguing among African authors on how one
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A novel set in 1975 Ghana. It's not entirely fair to call it a plotless novel, as there are several plot threads winding their way through the narrative, but the plot is really beside the point; the book is mainly a critical yet loving portrait of Ghana's capital city, Accra, and its people. There are venal politicians, intellectuals, religious people, small-time merchants and hustlers, officious policemen, even a witch who flies above the city and reads the hearts of its people. (Partly because ...more
Jake Berlin
there's definitely poetry in this book's language (no surprise, given the author), and at times it can be a fascinating look at ghana in the mid 1970s. but the cast of characters is a bit scattered, and the narrative doesn't stick with any one of them for long enough to make you care. by the end you know who everyone is, but by that point it's too late. the author also has a tendency to get deep in the intellectual woods, and have his characters talk about their country in an unrealistic manner ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
This complicated, unique book came with my McSweeney's "book club" membership, and despite mostly hanging on through the end, there wasn't much of a connection. The writing almost feels like a fever-dream, or a dream-world, enveloping the reader in the spiritual/cultural/political world of Ghana to which of course I have no knowledge. So, it was a struggle. There are passages I love, and a character or two that piqued interest. This novel requires some knowledge of Ghana, it's cutlure and ...more
Nana Fredua-Agyeman
Search Sweet Country (Heinemann, 1986; 352) is the first novel by the Ghanaian poet, Kojo Laing. It expanded what the author had already started started with his poetry, his unique use of words, his ability to make words turn, somersault, split and do some weird, but adorable, gymnastics. As is the foibles of poets, Laing's poetry seeped unrelentingly into his prose in a lovely kind of way.

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Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A hat for the world to keep its cruelty under, a polite hatred, silence breeding a new architecture, a wall loving your knees, a love more than legs, marriage filling a room, losing little ironies, eating the future, houses taking on loneliness, she only saw the jaws still eating, flowers snarling and growing in war, something strange at the back of your eye, flesh turning into ghost turning into semiflesh, again and again.
Chad Walker
I really, really wanted to like this one more than I did. Some of the sentences were really beautifully written. I think Laing and I are looking for different things aesthetically. I'm not sorry I read it, but it was a struggle, and I can't realistically see myself going back to it.
Anna Josephine
Jun 29, 2012 marked it as to-read
Started wanting to read this book when I read this review of it:
May 26, 2012 added it
Shelves: hated-it
It's nonsense. It reminds me of Lowry's Under the Volcano. I think I need to be drunk to read it clearly. A quote from a review on the back cover says "dizzying prose" and I cannot agree with the underlying meaning in that chosen phrase. Sorry, McSweeney's, but now I doubt your choices. IMO
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. Must-read. Expanded my ideas about how the English language can be used.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to like this beautiful book, but just could not get into it. Perhaps I'll try again.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book, but so far I am finding it a very hard read. The prose is very constructed and rich, maybe it would be better as a mother tongue english speaker.
Daven Savoie
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Loww saw how clearly everything - from fresh water and churches to governments and castles - could fit so easily in reflection of the gutters. This city could not satisfy the hunger of gutters, for there was nothing yet which had not been reflected in them"

A stunning novel, ripe and brimming with love for his country, his people and their flaws. This is one of the greatest novels I have ever read. I believe it stands amongst the greats of literature and should be treated as such. Get this book
I liked this book.
It's very postmodern. A bit of magical realism. Uses many Ghanaian words for food, religious concepts, everyday speech etc, and has a very playful langauge overall. It's a very unique view into Ghana in the 1970s for me as a German. I should have read it in English though, not in German, because a few characters speak "broken English" which doesn't translate well.
At times the metaphors were too abstract for me, and I wish there was more plot.
Crina Apostol
Aug 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Appreciate this may be one of the classics, but the style of writing where there is no respite and its scene after scene after scene is not my cup of tea. So I stopped reading after about 20 pages.

Shame though, because I could see some amazing insights into the Ghanian way of life back in the 70s
Valeria Alfie
Maybe 2 1/2 stars. This was such a struggle! Definitely an amazing piece of literature but not what I was expecting. Too many characters, certain passages were confusing and I had no idea what was going on.
I would recommend to do some research before reading.
Jeremy Punnett
Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, africa
Not a fan. Just not my style.
Tyrese L.
rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2015
rated it it was ok
Aug 17, 2019
Un Moine Vexé
Crackling good prose and a vibrant portrait of a city.
rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2017
George Ann
rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2019
rated it it was ok
Sep 16, 2016
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B. Kojo Laing or Bernard Kojo Laing (1 July 1946 20 April 2017) was a Ghanaian novelist and poet, whose writing is characterised by its hybridity, whereby he uses Ghanaian Pidgin English and vernacular languages alongside standard English. His first two novels in particular Search Sweet Country (1986) and Woman of the Aeroplanes (1988) were praised for their linguistic originality, both books ...more

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