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305 pages, Paperback
First published June 7, 2016
“What I know now, my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.”
“All people on the black continent must give up their heathenism and turn to God. Be thankful that the British are here to show you how to live a good and moral life.”
"One day, I came to these waters and I could feel the spirits of our ancestors calling to me. Some were free, and they spoke to me from the sand, but some others were trapped deep, deep, deep in the water so that I had to wade out to hear their voices. I waded out so far the water almost took me down to meet those spirits that were trapped so deep in the sea that they would never be free. When they were living they had not known where they came from, and so dead, they did not know how to get to dry land. I put you in here so that if your spirit ever wandered, you would know where home was."
Marjorie nodded as her grandmother took her hand and walked her farther and farther out into the water. It was their summer ritual, her grandmother reminding her how to come home.
[…]when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice [from the one in power] could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.
We believe the one who has power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history you must ask yourself, Whose story am I missing?
She’d heard the Englishmen call them “wenches,” not wives. “Wife” was a word reserved for the white women across the Atlantic. “Wench” was something else entirely, a word the soldiers used to keep their hands clean so that they would not get in trouble with their god, a being who himself was made up of three but who allowed men to marry only one.
And in my village we have a saying about separated sisters. They are like a woman and her reflection, doomed to stay on opposite sides of the pond.
“The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position.”
“Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.”
“Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”
“The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad,” this thing “white” and this thing “black,” was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else.”