Hi people, hope everything is going well with all of you. I know I haven’t written on here in a while, I’m thinking about restructuring the blog layout to make it easier for you to access what you want, so please bear with me. In the meantime. I decided to do a quick book review: Ayesha Harruna Attah’s Harmattan Rain.
If you remember, I interviewed Ayesha when her book was first released in the U.S., [Read interview here] and I finally read it!!! First of all, let me say that the very fact that this young lady wrote an entire book is in itself very inspirational!!! And to think she was involved in the entire process of making the book – concept, writing, layout, design etc- is mind blowing.
If you’re away from Ghana at the moment and feeling nostalgic about the ‘little things’ – chit-chats in trotros, Ghanaian English/pidgin, kelewele and other wayside delights, the importance of having connections or ‘knowing someone’ in Ghana – then you need to get this book and read it! While reading it, I was simply content. It transported me back to Ghana, and to the little things that make Ghana living interesting.
Ayesha’s attention to detail in the book is amazing! It’s obvious she has a remarkable flair for writing, because in Harmattan Rain, she gives in depth descriptions about the environment, emotions, thoughts, etc of her characters, yet her writing style and sentence structure are far from being complex or cumbersome. It was a joy reading the entire book, and in one phrase, “I felt like a train chugging along from one line to the next.”
I can only imagine the amount of research that went into this book. If you would like a quick refresher on Ghana’s early history, and want to understand some of the reasons why people were discontent with Kwame Nkrumah, then you should head for Harmattan Rain. I definitely learned a lot about Ghana’s history that I didn’t know before, and it gave real insight into societal interactions over the three generations.
Now to my absolute favorite aspect of the book: the characters! If I were to place Harmattan Rain in the category of realism or romanticism, it would definitely be under realism. This book is not only filled with creativity, but also with a deep understanding of life and living it. From Lizzie to Akua Afriye to Sugri (the main characters), I found something that I connected with. Whether it was Lizzie’s doggedness and perseverance, or Akua Afriye’s watchful eye and appreciation of nature, and even Sugri’s desire for freedom, and having to learn things the hard way; I was literally with them every step of the way. I also loved the fact that Ayesha used a wide array of names from both Northern & Southern Ghana.
With regards to themes, I think the theme of ‘history replaying itself’ is something that was really prominent in the novel. From the repetitive coups d’etat, to the people’s discontent with each new government, to each of the main characters’ shared experiences. Ayesha’s choice of title in itself is an excellent idea, cos in each of the main characters’ lives, there is the incidence of rain during the harmattan.
Definitely a page-turner and a great first book! Not to mention, one to watch out for! To access more information on Harmattan Rain, go to Ayesha’s official website! Happy Reading!
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.