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The Book of Echoes

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  418 ratings  ·  116 reviews
'A searing, rhapsodic novel. The Book of Echoes is filled with beauty, devastation and the power of ancestral connections that ripple through the ages' IRENOSEN OKOJIE

'So bewitching I almost felt like I time-travelled back into Brixton 1981. A gorgeous book – totally recommended.' ALEX WHEATLE

A sweeping, uplifting story of how a boy from Brixton and a girl from Lagos es
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 27th 2020 by Doubleday
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
A powerful potent story of struggle against poverty and discrimination, as a young black man and woman, take a journey of choices and travel to break free from their expected lives in search of something better. Driven by an ancestral voice, they are destined to meet even though they live worlds apart, Michael in London and Ngozi in Nigeria.

The African slave trade and the poor souls that were treated so inhumanly is a rich ground for compelling stories of, torn lives, human atrocitie
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The novel opens with the spirit of a woman haunting the West India docks, in London. She remembers two hundred years back when the smell of a dead boy gave her hiding position away and her and her unborn baby were dragged away, their freedom lost forever. She still searches for her Son, Uzo, who she hid before being taken by the slavers, and the daughter, although she never saw her, she knows that she had a baby girl, who she never got to name. On days she can hear them cry out to her, and she s ...more
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
The opening of “The Book of Echoes” at West India Docks, London in 1803 was a very powerful and emotional start to this poignant and at times harrowing story. Narrated by the spirit of a kidnapped African slave, she roams the streets, houses and lives of people, together with her lover ‘Wind’, endlessly searching for their lost child.
The story then jumps nearly two hundred years and we see into the lives of Michael, who is struggling to stay out of trouble after the brutal murder of his step mo
Nov 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Book of Echoes is a powerful debut novel by Rosanna Amaka, following the lives of a teenager in London, Michael, and a young woman from a poor background in Nigeria, Ngozi. The story is narrated by their shared ancestor from 200 years ago, an African woman who was kidnapped and enslaved.

If I'm honest, I struggled to get into the book initially. The lyrical writing at the start of the novel didn't sit well with me but luckily, the style changed after a while and once Ngozi's story got going,
❀ Sarah ❀
A captivating story about race, injustice, hardship, love and opportunity.

The Book of Echoes is a story told from the perspective of a spirit haunting the West India Docks in London. It begins in 1803, an African woman is kidnapped, transported and sent into a life of misery. Leaving her life and loved one’s behind her.


The story then jumps to the 1980’s to join Michael in London and Ngozi in Nigeria. Their stories are told separately while the spirit observes the struggles they endure in a va
Jane Hunt
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it

A beautifully written story about two people, Michael in Brixton and Ngozi in Laos, and a tortured spirit of a slave who haunts the London docks looking for her lost children. The story explores the horrors of the slave trade and how it echoes through the centuries. It follows the lives of Michael and Ngozi, which are full of hardship, despite this, both move forward because of their courage.

Rich in details of their lives, portrayed through vivid imagery. It is honest and poignant. Echoes of th
Tasnim (Reads.and.Reveries)
3.5 stars
The Book of Echoes follows the lives of Ngozi, a young woman from Nigeria and Michael, a Londoner of Jamaican descent. The story is narrated by a shared ancestor, a woman stolen from Africa by slavers who, when captured, leaves a child in Africa and then, following a harrowing sea passage, gives birth to another child prior to her death. As her soul roams the earth in search of her lost children, she watches Michael and Ngozi and the struggles they both face.
The dual settings of Nigeria
Rachel Hall
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Rosanna Amaka’s debut is essentially a testament to black history and a portrayal of the oppression and injustices that were overcome on the road to equality and an expansive story which crosses continent and decades. The story also serves as a reflection to how the traumatic experiences of one’s ancestors continue to resonate through future generations and how racism and oppression can be countered by resilience, hope and love.

The novel opens with the voice of an African slave woman losing her
Annette Jordan
An impressive and assured debut that travels around the globe and down through generations, The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka is a captivating and compelling tale.
The book opens in London, 1803 on the West India docks, with the discovery of a female stowaway on a slaving ship and her tragic ending. Throughout the rest of the book we learn more about how she ended up on the ship, and her experiences on board, and how she is connected to the two protagonists of the main story.
In Brixton, 1981
Jul 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
⭐️ 4 ⭐️

What a fabulous debut novel!

The story is narrated by the spirit of an African woman who lost her life over 200 years ago at The West India Docks in London, shortly after arriving on a slave ship. She tells the poignant story (starting in the 1980s), of Michael, living in Brixton and Ngozi, in Nigeria.

Beautifully written by Amaka, with rich prose and wonderful characterisation. We learn in detail about the lives of Michael and Ngozi; the atrocities they experience, the challenges they fac
Anika  | Chapters of May
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Transworld Publishers for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The book is told from the perspective of a woman who was taken into slavery aged 25 in the 1800s. 200 years later, her spirit floats around the world, searching out for her lost children.
Michael, a teenage boy living in Brixton in 1981, has to work hard to support himself and his sister. He gets involved in the riots, mixes with questionable people and fights against racial tensions in London at that time.

Ngozi, a
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book Of Echoes is a beautiful story about two people growing up in different parts of the world and in different circumstances. We follow Michael, who was born in Jamaica but grew up in Brixton, England and we follow Ngozi, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria. We get to see many different but difficult situations they both face until they both finally meet many years later. The story tells the history of Brixton and what it was like in 1970-2000 for black people and it discusses the history of sl ...more
My first thought when reading the opening pages of this book was ‘Wait a minute, I thought it was set in the 1980s not the beginning of the 19th century?’.  I’ll confess my second thought was ‘What an earth is going on here?’. In fact, the opening pages are the reader’s introduction to the book’s (omniscient) narrator, the spirit of a long dead African woman uprooted from her village and sent as a slave to a sugar plantation in Jamaica. There was a lyrical, dreamlike quality to this section and ...more
Karen Rós
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
This book didn't instantly grab me - actually at first, I wasn't even sure that I liked it. I wasn't keen on the narrative style and the jumps in time and location, but over time the book became absolutely engrossing. It's possible that my initial dislike was actually just subconscious racism and I'll own that (I know that this is an actual barrier of entry for Black people to get published in the first place; white editors will reject their stories on basis of "didn't grab me", "I couldn't rela ...more
Jul 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book captivated me from the start. We meet our narrative anchor for the novel - a nameless voice whose experiences and metaphorical sons and daughters span the whole globe, having stemmed from Africa and being torn apart by slavery.

From then, across the span of well over a decade, we follow the lives of Michael in Brixton and Ngozi in Nigeria - growing with them thriugh their struggles, triumphs and sufferings.

The author does an impeccable job of interlinking the experiences of many black
Arushi Kalra
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Book of Echoes is a unique book in which the narrator is a 200 year old enslaved African who is telling a modern day tale of Michael from Brixton and Ngozi from Nigeria. The book starts with searing pain where I was scared to even turn pages to see what worse can happen to the characters. But there is hope and love as the paths of the two characters cross.

This book explores the struggles of Black people and the impact of history on our daily lives. It the storytelling is gripping and profou
I DNF it after listening to half of it (+6 hours) unfortunately. It’s a great novel I guess but it was too long for me and my mood at the moment.
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

'I often wonder if - no I don't, I believe that history was truly invented for the rich and the learned. I look back at the group gathered around the statue, their faces expectant.They are young. They will never know they stand on the very spot where I drew my last breaths. Their history has erased us.'

A nameless woman is taken from her African homeland and sold into slavery. Her namelessness represents her dehumanisation as cargo. Through tragic circumstances she dies and the man she l
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a love letter to black families who have suffered injustice, displacement, and inequality, yet come out determined to find their place in the world. It acknowledges the common experiences of different black communities while celebrating their cultural differences. But most of all, it's a engrossing tale of the endurance of two kids with the odds stacked against them.

Unsurprisingly, this wasn't comfortable reading. Protagonists Ngozi and Michael experience abuse, loss, violence. Ngozi in
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 ⭐️
The debut book from Rosanna Amaka, is told through the eyes of an African slave women, who gets murdered whilst trying to escape her captors. She tells her story while wandering the earth to find the children she left behind. Throughout the book We go back and fourth between her own life in 1803 and her telling us about the lives of Micheal and Ngozi, in the 1980s through to the present day.
Split between Brixton, England and Lagos, Nigeria, The Book of Echoes is a story of survival and t
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved the way this was written, we're given the perspective of a woman who died trying to escape from slavery as she watches over her descendants. It was so moving reading her feelings as she sees them grow and develop, her love of them, and fear for them. As a framing device I think it worked beautifully.

I also loved the people she was watching over, how they both came through tough situations and while it took a long time they achieved their dreams of making a better life for themselves. My
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Today is my stop on the blog tour for 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞 𝗢𝗙 𝗘𝗖𝗛𝗢𝗘𝗦 by Rosanna Amaka. Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and Transworld/Penguin Random House for having me along, and sending me a copy of the book.
𝗧𝘄𝗼 𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗱. 𝗧𝘄𝗼 𝗵𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗰𝗸𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘄𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀, 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀. 𝗜 𝗮𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗯 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝗺𝗲. 𝗜𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗺𝘆 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗽𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗜
Kim C
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing

5 stars to this very heart-wrenching, inspiring and empowering book about 2 black people’s journey through a generation that’s been cruel to them. Michael's sentiment saying, "why if a black person or POC experience adversities, it is always tenfold comparing to white people?".

Narrated by a ghost/soul of Ngozi and Michael’s ancestor dating back 200 years ago, the story is a journey from their past life that is relevant still. With alternating storyline, from Nigeria to Brixton England. The autho
Ellie Kakoulli
Jul 24, 2021 rated it liked it
The Book of Echoes” is a haunting, yet redemptive tale, exploring how the consequences (or echoes) of the past -slavery, hate crimes, can reverberate throughout generations. But also how through sheer strength of resilience, love and hope, people can slowly, start to turn things around.

I must admit I did initially struggle to get into the book, and although I admired the dual narrative as a premise -allowing Amaka to explore and highlight a number of issues susceptible to those of colour, no ma
Vanessa Wild
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pigeonhole
The Book of Echoes is a powerful and compelling story narrated in part by the spirit of an African slave who was murdered 200 years ago. In the present day a boy from Brixton and a girl from Lagos journey towards each other as they try to escape their pasts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this emotional and meaningful tale. It has some wonderful, realistic characters as well as being beautifully and vividly written. It contains themes of slavery and racial discrimination, these themes resonating throughou
Gail Wylde
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pigeonhole
I will admit I did struggle to get into this book to begin with but I’m so glad I persevered. The narrator is the spirit of an African slave who died 200 years ago in hellish circumstances and is now roaming the world looking for her two babies.
We then meet Michael from Brixton and Ngozi from Nigeria and follow the trials of modern day life as a black youth in Brixton and as the ‘wrong’ caste in Nigeria. This is a story of courage through hardship and traumatic experiences which shows huge resi
Jul 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading the first few pages of this book I was completely hooked and my heart was in my mouth.

From the first chapter we find out that the book’s narrator is an African woman who was taken from her homeland many years ago as a slave and was brought to England. We quickly learn that she loses her life on arrival but gives birth to a daughter who is taken away from the point. From the point of her death she haunts the London docks London watching people and waiting to be reunited with her dau
The Book of Echoes has left me with a serious book hangover. It’s a hard book to follow. All three of the narrative voices in this book grab your heart and squeeze it - hard! Michael who lives in Brixton has a normal South London upbringing, living on a housing estate with his stepmother, sister and brother. When his brother kills his stepmother, his life takes a completely different direction as he steps in to care for his sister.

Ngozi lives in Nigeria, and we pick up as she transitions from b
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A love story centuries in the making.
A story that teaches us how the way we live our lives directly affects others around us. A story that revolves around slavery and social injustice with love as its central theme. Rosanna teaches us to take life one day at a time, to follow your heart and eventually you'll find yourself where you need to be.
I highly recommend this book!
Derval Tannam
This was an engaging and well-structured book, but the ending felt so rushed! Poor Marcia was only given two pages to deal with the trauma and guilt following her mother's murder, and the chapter involving Michael and Ngozi is similarly blasted through. There were some wordy conversations about race and opportunity that didn't feel like natural dialogue, and Ngozi's accent wasn't always consistent. All that said, it was an enjoyable read. ...more
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Fiction Fanatics: October 2020 - The Book of Echoes 1 8 Oct 02, 2020 11:50PM  

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