She Would Be King

It's not a boat.
 She Would Be King, by Wayétu Moore

This was such an intriguing novel!  It takes a little while to figure out the overall structure, but since each individual story is also compelling, that is not a drawback at all.  Taken together, the various pieces form a mosaic imagining the establishment of Liberia in the first half of the 19th century -- and how it could have gone better.

There are three protagonists: Gbessa (pronounced Bessa), a native African woman whose village pronounced her cursed at birth; June Dey, who escaped slavery and ended up on a ship to Liberia by accident; and Norman Aragon, a Maroon of Jamaica whose enslaved mother had just one dream -- to get to Freetown in Africa.  Their stories are narrated by a ghost.  Each of the three has a special gift, and each of them eventually uses the gift to help the helpless, communicate between the native Africans and the African-American settlers, and help to make Liberia a place where all can be free.* 

This is an excellent novel and I recommend it!  I really got into it.


*Perhaps it really would have taken super-powers instead of ordinary human beings...


  1. I've been meaning to read this ... your recommendation is well taken.


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