Our Sister Killjoy
Ama Ata Aidoo
$ 9.50 (new)
$ 6.97 (used)
Paperback (134 pages)
Editorial DescriptionOut of Africa with her degree and her all-seeing eyes comes Sisse. She comes to Europe, to a land of toering mountains and low grey skies and tries to make sense of it all. What is she doing here? Why aren't the natives friendly? And what will she do when she goes back home? Ghanian writer Ama Ata Aidoo's brilliantly conceived prose poem is by turns bitter and gentle, and is highly personal exploration of the conflicts between Africa and Europe, between men and women and between a complacent acceptance of the status quo and a passionate desire to reform a rotten world. Of her own writing, Ama Ata Aidoo says, 'I write about people, about what strikes me and interests me. It seems the most natural thing in the world for women to write with women as central characters; making women the centre of my universe was spontaneous.'
Reader ReviewsWonderful, complex novel
It took me a while to understand the structure of this book, but after I did, it made the themes and Aidoo's narration that much more powerful. The story is told from a young female student's p.o.v.--Sissie is chosen to "represent" Ghana and travels to Europe. In Germany, she befriends a local woman named Marija. During her travels, she grapples with issues regarding colonialism, race, love and nationality.
The novel jumps between prose and poetry, from unbiased narration to the jumbled thoughts running through Sissie's head. There are little treasures that could go un-noticed: the use of "Sissie" as the name, the plums, the story of Kunle's death. This is a story rich with meaning, and a very quick read. I highly recommend it.
Whiny and trite...
Aidoo gives new meaning to the term "female whiner". Her brief "novel"(about 132 pages) is a trying exercise in whining about being a woman, and being an African. She may have cause to whine, but please spare us the long poems that break up the text. If I wanted to read poetry, I'd buy a poetry book. I hate it when authors insert poems in midstream. It breaks up the text, and detracts from the action. Anyway, Sissie is a Ghanaian who visits Germany, makes cute with a German woman, and reflects on how bad colonization and Africans can be. Not recommended except for insommiacs.
This is a must read for anyone interested in post-colonial politics. A multi-genre "novel" Aidoo's genius shines throught on each page. I couldn't put it down.
Just because something is different, outside one's normal experience or way of thinking, does not mean it is not of value. Reading this poetic novel was a hugely uncomfortable experience for me. Being a westerner some of the truths and opinions Aidoo expressed came from an unexpected angle, forcing me to look at my values and beliefs afresh. This makes the book less enjoyable perhaps, the truth can hurt as can opinions, but not any the less clever or well constructed. I guess it attacks political systems rather than individual people. The concept that many white people regard their black African friends as trophies (and I can think of some examples around me), made me examine my relationships with some of my African friends. Some of Aidoo's views do seem really extreme to me, however. As an immigrant myself, I don't relate to the concept that it is an abandonement of one's true identity and homeland in favour of selfish pursuits to emigrate. Maybe I would have liked to have seen more of a recognition that being part of this world is a global experience, I don't know. An extremely valuable read, I learnt lots.