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The Book Of Echoes

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  75 ratings  ·  43 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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 27th 2020 by Doubleday
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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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
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 ...more
Miriam Smith
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kept-book, twitter
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 mother
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,
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
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
❀ Sarah ❀
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ones behind her.


The story then jumps to the 1980s to join Michael in London and Ngozi in Nigeria. Their stories are told separately while the spirit observes the struggles they endure in a
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
Rachel Hall
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Rosanna Amakas 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 ones 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
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 ...more
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
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
Gianna Lorandi
The Book of Echoes is thought-provoking and beautifully written, it tells the story of the ghost of an African slave woman and how the injustice and cruelties she endured seems to echo into her future generations.
The characters are well developed and all play an important part in the narrative. It took me a long time to read this novel as I found some of the scenes very upsetting and had to stop from time to time.
It's a powerful and honest debut which is going to stay with me for a long time.
Linda Hepworth
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Chapter 1 of this powerful novel starts in London as the spirit narrator of the story revisits her traumatic experiences in the citys West India Docks in 1803, and recalls the many horrifyingly brutal events which had led to her arrival, and subsequent death, there. In the late 1700s, as a young married woman, she had been captured from her village in Nigeria and sold into slavery on a Jamaican plantation but, having realised what was about to happen, had abandoned her baby son Uzo in the bush,
Mairead Hearne (
A story of love, hope and resilience rippling through the generations..

The Book of Echoes is one that has taken Rosanna Amaka over twenty years to complete. Originally written with the intent of giving a voice to the Brixton community, Rosanna Amakas community, one that was disappearing before her eyes, The Book of Echoes has just been published (February 27th) with Doubleday Books.

The book is about life, pain and hope and was inspired by a wish to understand the impact of history on
Caroline Kerdouci
Im not sure any review I write can do this glorious novel the justice it deserves. The Book of Echoes is a masterpiece of storytelling which kept me enthralled from start to finish. Spanning centuries from slavery to the modern day this novel tells of the lives of Michael and Ngosi. Michael, of Jamaican heritage is living in Brixton, at the time of the riots whilst when we first meet Ngosi she is selling oranges outside a bus station in a small Nigerian village. Their stories may appear very ...more
My thanks to Random House U.K. Transworld Publishers/Doubleday U.K. for an eARC via NetGalley of The Book of Echoes by Rosanna Amaka in exchange for an honest review.

A sweeping, uplifting story of how a boy from Brixton and a girl from Lagos escape their dark past to find themselves a bright future.

The narrator of this powerful novel is the uneasy spirit of an African slave woman, who died on the London docks in 1803 after fleeing Jamaica. Through time she seeks her children: the son left
miss.mesmerized mesmerized
The new decade has just begun when life as he knows it ends for 16-year-old Michael Watson: his mother is murdered in their home and he and his little sisters find themselves alone in Brixton. The person who always told him that people of Jamaican descend have to work two times as hard as others and should keep their head down is gone and it does not take too long until his mothers concerns are proven right. Thousands of kilometres south in a small Nigerian village, Ngozi has to say goodbye to ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Book of Echoes is a powerful, thought-provoking novel about the echoes of the past, exploring how the history of the slave trade continues to ripple through contemporary black experience.

Narrated by the ghost of an African slave woman, and told through the dual perspectives of Nigerian Ngozi and Londoner Michael, The Book of Echoes is an ambitious piece of storytelling, and for the most part its a success. The interweaving narratives allow Amaka to explore the effects of diaspora through
Clazzzer C
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Book of Echoes is a captivating read. It starts intriguingly two hundred years ago in London in the dockland area told from the point of view of a captured African slave. She and her lover Wind roams the area searching for their lost child. Two hundred years later we meet even more interesting characters, Michael whose step mother has been killed and Ngozi who suffers due to the impoverished life and social status into which she was born. Through these carefully constructed characters we see ...more
Roberta Wright
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fascinating story, switching between Nigeria and Brixton and going back into the past. There were interleaved stories that successfully linked together in the end. I really enjoyed Ngozis story of her growing up in Nigeria, which was fascinating and well described, and the difficulties faced by black families in the eighties and nineties in Brixton through police brutality and gentrification. The messages about structural racism were clear and well described, but occasionally hammered ...more
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-2020
I found it quite hard to get into this book and did consider ditching it at about 15%. But I carried on and ended up enjoying the three quite different stories. The ghost narrator just pops up without any introduction and I found this a bit off-putting; I didn't get used to it and it always brought me up short and I had to go back and reread a sentence or two. It's not a device I would encourage. The Nigerian and the London stories were both well written apart from this and with a definite sense ...more
Mrs Julie Gargett
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I found this a hard book to get into, but I am glad I stuck to it. It is narrated by the spirit of a woman who died in the 1800s as she follows the spirits of the two children she lost. Ngizi starts out in Africa and makes a better life for herself over the years and ends up in London, Michael grows up in Brixton in the 80s and finds it a hard life with the racism that existed there at the time.
It was a well written debut book and I loved the way the characters developed themselves, and
Mrs M A Moore
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I understood the meaning of the title, echo's refers to the past ancestors of the current characters. Took me a while to get used to the style of writing and also the levels of violence. Story goes back and forth from slave trade in Africa to the Brixton riots, Centres on the family of Ngozi, her treatment in the hands of various men and her fight to make something of herself despite numerous difficulties. The other main characters are Michael, Marcia their family and acquaintances. Michael ...more
Mrs Norma Zacks
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The story is told by the soul of an African slave women whose spirit is roaming the earth looking for her two children that she lost when she was taken into slavery. It took me about a third of the way through to get into this book and I found the local dialect difficult to understand Having said that I did enjoy this book and it made me realise how little things have changed. True, slavery has been abolished but prejudices are still very much in existence today. Thanks to NetGalley for my ARC ...more
Lora Carney
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book starts out well with an interesting idea: The spirit of an African slave woman narrates the experiences of her descendants over 200 years. I thought the idea intriguing and really wanted to enjoy the book.

However, I found it meandering and had trouble with the jumps from one set of characters to another. It was also written in present tense, which makes it difficult to keep attention on the story.

I can't say much more about it because apart from that beginning, very little of what I
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC.

I really liked this book. Amaka's prose is gorgeous to read - the book just draws you into the story. Both characters felt real and all their choices were completely understandable, meaning where they ended up made total sense. I also really liked the inclusion of the ancestral narrator. I think this is one I'll want to go back to and read again.
Michelle M
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought provoking novel about two young people's struggles against discrimination and finding their place in the world.
The story is narrated by an African ancestor who made a horrifying journey as a slave.
Whilst this history is touched on throughout the novel, it is the stories of Michael and Ngozi that take centre stage.

An interesting read.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a lovely story, of strength and determination, with the two key roles Ngozi and Michael achieving their dreams.

When they riots in Brixton were being described it took me back to the news stories I would watch on the news as a child.

This quite a hard book to read, with the abuse and slavery, but some great historical information, which makes me grateful for the life I have.
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