“Powerful. . . . At once impassioned, lucid, and understandably enraged, The Devil That Danced on the Water illuminates the troubled, tragic history of a country and a continent.” O, The Oprah Magazine
The Devil That Danced on the Water
A Daughter's Quest
978-0-8021-4048-7 • $14.00 • Paperback • Jan. 2004
Aminatta Forna’s intensely personal history is a passionate and vivid account of an idyllic childhood that became the stuff of nightmare. As a child she witnessed the upheavals of postcolonial Africa, danger, flight, the bitterness of exile in Britain, and the terrible consequences of her dissident father’s stand against tyranny.
Mohamed Forna was a man of impeccable integrity and enchanting charisma. As Sierra Leone faced its future as a fledgling democracy, he was a new star in the political firmament, a man who had been one of the first black students to come to Britain after the war. He stole the heart of Aminatta’s mother, to the dismay of her Presbyterian parents, and returned with her to Sierra Leone. But as Aminatta Forna shows with compelling clarity, the old Africa was torn apart by new ways of Western parliamentary democracy, which gave birth only to dictatorships and corruption of hitherto undreamed-of magnitude. It was not long before Mohamed Forna languished in jail as a prisoner of conscience, and worse to follow.
Aminatta’s search for the truth that shaped both her childhood and the nation’s destiny began among the country’s elite and took her into the heart of rebel territory. Determined to break the silence surrounding her father’s fate, she ultimately uncovered a conspiracy that penetrated the highest reaches of government and forced the nation’s politicians and judiciary to confront their guilt. The Devil That Danced on the Water is a book of pain and anger and sorrow, written with tremendous dignity and beautiful precision: a remarkable and important story of Africa.