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The Hundred Wells of Salaga

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  606 ratings  ·  92 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 234 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Cassava Republic Press
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
 ·  606 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
!!! full review -

4.5 stars, but rounding up to 5 stars.
Ayesha H. Attah has grown soooo much as a writer and 'The Hundred Wells of Salaga' is proof of her wonderful growth....

full review on book blog -
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A 231 page novel that holds enough ambition for a book twice it's size. The story of Wurche (one of the most complex and stellar protagonists I've read in 2018), and Aminah is one that you will remember for the evils that can be inflicted from within a nation, as well as those from an outsider who happens to be playing nice.

Ayesha Harruna Attah's backlog is a priority.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it did not like it
TW: abuse, violence, rape, slavery, suicide, racism, slut-shaming

Unpopular Opinion Time 🐸☕️

Actual rating: 1.5 ⭐️

Boy oh boy. Grab some sugar because this Rather Random Review™️ is gonna be salty AF and you'll have to balance all this out with some sweetness.

For as much as I appreciated the discussion around internal slavery, and I liked the fact that one of the two main characters was bi, I personally thought this book wasn't great.

Actually, I really hated this book, if I have to be completely h
i likes that this book showed the slave trades during the time when africa was being “colonized” (taken over!) by white europeans and how both changed the lives of africans.

the author doesn’t shy away from the actual horrors -beatings, rape, even just the trauma being ripped away from your home and dragged way to be sold- and even being owned by a nicer person doesn’t mean that it feels good be owned.

i did find the entire book a bit confusing since the writing style felt almost too young to be
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Hundred Wells of Salaga is the story of Arminah and Wurche, two young women who grow up in vastly different circumstances in West Africa in the late 19th century and whose paths cross. The novel, which tackles topics such as slavery and politics in a way which is rarely covered, is beautifully written. Attah's language is ripe with metaphors and pictures and at the same time, she understands to tell a page-turner story. My only gripe with the book (something I rarely wish for): The book coul ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: african-fiction
I appreciated Attah’s novel for its period details on the lives of the Gonja and Hausa tribes: descriptions of maasa and tuo, design of household spaces, influence of Islam, and inter-tribal politics. This is not a culture / time / place you get many chances to read about! But then... the majority of characters fell flat. Even one of Attah’s protagonists changes little over the course of the story, driven headlong by her own desires into scandal after disaster with little to no personal reflecti ...more
this was a 3.5 read for me
thoughts coming shortly
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ayesha Haruna Attah’s The Hundred Wells of Salaga was a story of the African slave trade in Ghana told from the perspective of one woman stolen into slavery and another who, as a royal, both participated in and also benefited from this horror. This book was written with a mind to complex characters and the vagaries of being a kind and complete person in some ways, while also participating in one of the great degradations of human history. I think that this book is an important read for so many r ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fiction, ghana
This is a story of two young women coming form very different lives set in pre-colonial Ghana. Aminah is taken from her home and forced to slavery. Once a daydreamer, she becomes a resilient woman after all the hardships she has to endure. Slavery brings her to Wurche, a headstrong and independent princess, who wants to make a difference in her father’s court.

I found it fascinating to learn a little about the conflicts between different tribes, and western influence in Ghana. The story is intere
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I really loved how visual the writing is. It was more like watching a movie than reading a book. An enjoyable read.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
-In Botu, Eeyah often talked about "licabili". It was the belief that whatever path you took in life, it would take you where it was supposed to take you.-
The lives of Aminah and Wurche collide as the existence of their respective village and territory are changed by intervening and battling forces. We get a glimpse of the power structure in the region and how power changed between the tribes and how the arrival of the 'white' man charted a new course in the political and economical relatio
Jun 03, 2019 marked it as couldn-t-finish
Shelves: african
Giving up fifty pages in. Interesting topic, Lots of information, but the writing is weak.
Nadine Jones
“Salaga is the town of one hundred wells,” said Wurche.

“Why are there so many wells here?” asked Aminah.

“They were built to wash slaves after long journeys,” said Wurche.

Set in pre-colonial Ghana during the time of slave-trading with the Europeans (1892-1897), I appreciate that this is a slice of historical fiction that we don’t see enough of, but this book did not have much else to recommend it for me. This story didn’t draw me the way I’d hoped. I never really cared about the characters,
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book as a portrait of the time in which it's set. Hundred Wells is set in what today we call Ghana in the 1890s century, when slavery was ostensibly illegal but still thriving, and while the European powers were still testing the waters of colonialism. The book doesn't have much in the way of a conventional plot though; it's more of a slice of life. Far more happens to the main characters than because of them. While historically accurate, it doesn't make for a satisfying story.

Equal Opportunity Reader
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this before, even though all of the elements of it are familiar. There’s a misfit princess, warring nations, a beautiful foreign slave girl, and strange visitors from a faraway land. Characters struggle with unrequited love, confusing sexuality, and mismatched marriages. There are power struggles–both political and personal.
If The Hundred Wells of Salaga was about China or England or colonial America, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. But instead,
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully rendered story about Werche and Aminah, 2 girls whose lives intersect in pre-colonial Ghana. Attah tells a story of two girls caught in the history of inter-contential slavery in Africa.

Inspired by the story of Attah's grandmother, she uses research to vividly paint the lives of the characters. Food is central to the lives of families.
May 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
While this was an interesting story of Ghana as the Europeans came in and how the tribes were selling each other as slaves, the writing was strange. The beginning was choppy and the end wrapped up too quickly and smoothly. It read like a story I would use in my grade 6 class except there was sex thrown in. Felt unfocussed.
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

That was a great story I would have loved to see a finish to Aminah and Moro's story. Thank you for a beautiful story.
Douglas La Rose
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing and beautiful piece of literature about inter-ethnic relations in pre-colonial Ghana.
Aisha (thatothernigeriangirl)
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it

The Hundred Wells of Salaga, a novel that got its name from the Wells present in pre-1892 Salaga, sets around the stories of Aminah and Wurche. Aminah, reserved and simple, was kidnapped from Botu and forced into internal slavery. The reins of slavery brought her to Wurche, the rebellious princes with royal troubles of her own.
Amidst all these, the quest for power, both from the local chiefs and the foreign powers, fueled various events that destroyed towns (especially Salaga) and strengthened
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
The story follows two female protagonists Aminah and Wurche. Aminah is a commoner and Wurche a royal princess. The story starts with Aminah and her family. At first, all is well with Aminah's family until the disappearance of her father. This is the harbinger that announces the disintegration of her family. One evening, her family is brutally torn apart when slave raiders attack their hometown Botu and Aminah is sold into slavery to Wofa Sarpong and then finally to Wurche.

Wurche is the free-spir
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it

This a really interesting piece of fiction.

Highly recommended.
Nana Kesewaa
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ayesha presents a new voice in storytelling in the aspect of slavery. It was an informative read.
Bob Conklin
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ayesha Harruna Attah’s novel provides a unique insight into the slave trade conducted in the region that was to become Ghana on Africa’s Gold Coast. Her lyrical prose immerses the reader in domestic scenes of daily life interspersed with brutal episodes of human trafficking. Yet the novel remains tender and humane in its rendition of the suffering and indignities imposed by slavery as practiced in African communities in conjunction with intertribal power moves and warfare. There are no absolute ...more
Eileen Breseman
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
A story told in two perspectives, alternating chapters but with forward thread line of the plot. In a historic fiction tale, two women of Ghana in the 1890s separated by class and lifestyle, one a princess of a warring chief and one a village girl, each are caught up in the time after slavery was abolished yet still persisted in some places in Africa. Both women are subject to limitations of females, not always in control of their destinies. Eventually their paths cross and are changed by the ot ...more
Emily Ehret
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Hundred Wells of Salaga is novel like no other novel I have read before. Ayesha Attah creates a skillful portrayal of life in precolonial Ghana based on the experiences of her great-great grandmother. She informs her readers on the appalling parts of Ghana's history while weaving in hope and light through two strong and independent women who push the boundaries of their society in which they live.
Aminah is the eldest daughter of a shoemaker in Botu, while Wurche comes from royalty, the daug
Carolyne Gathuru
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The two women in this book Aminah and Wurche and their happenstance meeting and connecting and finally disconnecting over the man for whom they both had their hearts wrapped around - Moro - seems forced.

How? How is it that this very same man is the one that ties the bits together to bring these women together? Really?

The story though brings out the gender differentiation through early Ghana (which pretty much would reflect the African situation) vide the stories of both Aminah and Wurche's relat
Kathleena Paul
This book does something extremely rare and very important:
It’s protagonist is a woman.
It’s protagonist is a woman who is a slave.
It’s protagonist is a woman who is a slave as part of the interval slave trade in Ghana during the late 19th century.
Women who occupied this undervalued role and position in life have essentially been erased from history, their voices silenced due to sexism, classism, colonialism. This book does an admirable job in tackling this problem of erasure by focusing on Am
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: debut-novels
There’s a quiet quality to this novel which defies the often brutal world of internecine conflict where the characters live. It is this quiet, determined voice which gives life and strength to the story, centering on two women from different backgrounds and social status in pre-colonial Ghana during the late 1800s. Author Attah focuses on the internal African slave trade which fed the trans-Atlantic slave trade, but was also a widespread practice among warring families vying for power in West A ...more
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was actually quite disappointed by this book. I hoped be drawn into a story of two women, learn about their feelings and how they cope with difficulties and how they rise with strength. I didn't mind that many terms weren't explained - it felt more authentic. But I missed depth of story and characters.

Even though the chapters alternated between Wurche and Aminah, I could not build a relationship to the characters as they seemed flat, were written from a third persona narrator and stayed distan
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