Devil Danced Alone, The


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I believe no one knows how someone who is poor really feels unless they had a time in their life when they were poor also. Sure, there are plenty who refuse to work and prefer living off the funds the government allows. There are incentives to discourage working so some can qualify for financial assistance. There are people…lots of people who need a little helping hand. We can read about those who begged at the city gates in scripture. Just as those who were in need, there are those in need today.

Also telling was the racism and bigotry the author saw and experienced in the UK. Apr 10, BookOfCinz rated it liked it Shelves: Mohammed Forna, a politician in Sierra Leone during the civil war. This is a hard book to review mainly because it is one part memoir and another part biography. The writer is very close to the issue presented and it is clear that she really did her due diligence.

I knew very little about Sierra Leone's prickly history, so I appreciated that historical content. I got a great look into the count Solid 3. I got a great look into the country and its culture. I liked both the beginning of the novel and the end, I felt the middle was a bit jumbled and not presented properly. From reading this book, its clear that it was a hard book to write because there are so many things at play- the history of a country, the telling of a father's story from your memory and the memory of others along with your own history.

Nonetheless, the book did a solid job of getting the story across. Jul 26, Bivisyani Questibrilia rated it it was amazing. I didn't actually know anything about this book when I picked it up, but I recognised Aminatta Forna's name from another book I've been meaning to read. In hindsight, I feel I should've recognised her name far sooner through a different story.


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All I know is that this book tells the story of her memoir—of what and why, exactly, I had no clue. I prefer not to read the synopsis of a book upon buying it—and, most of the time, I pick up the right ones. The book starts out quite vaguely and goes on like that for two chapters—at the end of which, I was sure it would be a tearjerker—but starts again from the top in the third chapter.

It is a story both personal and detached, collecting as much information as well as emotions to form a well-rounded picture, or at least attempt to. This effect perhaps comes from Ms. Forna's background in journalism but perhaps also from the twenty-five years of distance she allowed herself before diving into this subject matter.

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The writing is very prosaic, in a way that makes you feel like you're transported straight to Sierra Leone to experience it all—sometimes I look up from the book to realise exactly where I am—though devoid of all the dramatisation such stories tend to have. Although hard to admit, I didn't actually know where or what Sierra Leone was before this book, but now I know a whole lot more than most people. While the story is focused on her father, as a memoir, it obviously cannot escape from the author's own point-of-view, which oftentimes is separated at long distance from her father—especially because she was a small child when most of it happened.

This allows the readers to see other aspects of life for the Forna family as well as life for people in Sierra Leone. It dives into the matter of race, of class, of economy and of tribes. It gives a surprising glimpse of what it looks like to be a half-white African child or a white woman married to an African man, both in the UK and in Africa itself—and how it may differ significantly in Sierra Leone and in Nigeria. Another thing I noticed is the similarities between the politics in Sierra Leone and my own country, Indonesia—possibly because both being the target of colonialism and developing countries.

They both have a pivotal political moment in the '60s and the '90s. In the '60s the former government was replaced with a new regime, which quickly turned into a dictatorship of some kind. In the '90s this regime produced a riot of protesters—claiming to fight for change, although taking victims from fellow little people themselves. Is it possible that this was the result of colonialism?


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  5. Perhaps it's because the local government only ever saw dictatorship and violence—as usually performed by the western invaders—be used as tools to lead a country? Is it possible that is the only way they knew how to govern? If you want to pick up this book looking for answers, I would suggest you put it back down, because those are mostly not included in the book—only because they were not found in the author's real life as well.

    From the start the ending was written in scarlet letters, but I found myself wishing for a different outcome anyway—as did the author, probably. This book was published over a decade ago. Sierra Leone could be a whole lot different today. But it's still curious, why is this horrifying part of history has never made it into the mainstream media—or at least not so much that people would talk about it for decades, despite never lived there at all?

    At least, now I know about it. Dec 16, Melitta rated it liked it. This is a pretty good book about recent Sierra Leonean history. The author's father played an important role in S L government at the time of its transfer from British colonialism to self-rule, and according to Forna, everything he did was correct and upstanding, whereas all the others were corrupt, self-serving and basically, evil. I do not know enough detail about political historians' views of the 70s, 80s and 90s to know if this is correct or not.

    I do know that multiple attrocities were com This is a pretty good book about recent Sierra Leonean history. I do know that multiple attrocities were committed by several different self-declared leaders and opposition members.

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    What is certain is that life was unbelievably difficult for almost all people in Sierra Leone. Where this story is good is the parallel telling of the lives of both the author growing up in SL and the UK, and of her father. Since the author is of a similar age as myself, I enjoy and can identify with her frequent mention of cultural objects in the UK during her childhood. Many of these references will not be understood by American readers, but add spice for British ones.

    She shows very clearly how difficult it is to be half African and half white in her case Scottish , in a zenophobic world. It seems she was much more accepted in SL than in the UK, but that may be because in SL she was seen as the daughter of an important man, and also she was definitely in the richer and educated echelon of society there. She tried extremely hard to find the truth of her father's final situation, but frustratingly for her, and somewhat so for us, there is no final "truth". She does give a reasonable account of some of the atrocious torture of ordinary people in SL, but perhaps not quite as well as some other African authors, maybe because much of her accounting is second hand, and she was a young girl when most of these enprisonments occurred.

    The last third of the book focused on her return to SL as an adult, in search of answers, and I found that part the least compelling part of the book. I thought her memories of her childhood, and the early years of her father's life were more interesting and better developed. Still, this is a book I would recommend to people who are interested in recent African history. Aug 27, Laura rated it it was amazing.

    I picked up this book with absolutely no knowledge of its contents. Having read one of Forna's works of fiction previously, I was expecting a novel. In my blissful ignorance, I think I encountered one of the best written works I have read with elements of the auto-biographical and investigative journalism genres at their best.

    This is her real life story, of her British-educated Sierra Leonean father and his incredible passion for a country with so much potential, yet destroyed by greed corrupti I picked up this book with absolutely no knowledge of its contents. This is her real life story, of her British-educated Sierra Leonean father and his incredible passion for a country with so much potential, yet destroyed by greed corruption and hatred.

    Her years as a child in Africa are immersed in bliss and magical events seen through the eyes of a child slowly turning into the toughest pages of Sierra Leone's history. Interwoven in her experiences are memories of England, Scotland, Lagos and at the forefront stands Sierra Leone with its beautiful beaches and forests and Retracing all of her father's steps, and matching his last ten years of life up with some of her most intimate memories of her first ten years on earth, Forna seeks clarity on the circumstances of her father's murder.

    In the process she enables the reader to understand why Sierra Leone is what it is today, seeds of a country falling into anarchic abyss already sown at the time of her childhood there. A brilliant piece of writing. Jun 16, Hugh rated it it was amazing Shelves: A devastating but beautifully written memoir of a childhood in Sierra Leone and Britain, and the rise and fall of her father Mohamed Forna, a finance minister in the Sierra Leone government.

    But she was born in Scotland to a Scottish mother while her father was studying medicine there. Unfortunately politics in Sierra Leone was a dangerous business. We learn at the very start of the book that, when she was ten, her father was arrested and she never saw him again, but exactly what happened to him emerges over the course of the book, so even though it is in fact a matter of historical record, I suppose the polite thing to do is to issue a MILD SPOILER ALERT before I go on to talk about it.

    So, as I was saying, her father along with fourteen other men was arrested and charged on trumped-up charges of treason, inevitably found guilty, and hanged. They had supposedly been conspiring to blow up a government minister — an explosion at his house did take place but appears to have been staged for the purpose. But once again it reinforces the basic truth: I got pleasure from reading this book, despite everything, because it is very well written.

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    It was a political show trial organised by a dictator, and it followed the familiar pattern: Still interesting, still worth reading, but not as engaging as the first part. I used to walk down a road, any road, and say to myself: If I can just hold my breath until I get to the end of this street Daddy will be released from prison. Or, if I was crossing a bridge and a train went underneath, I wished my father would be freed. Three times over three years, as I cut the first slice of cake, I used my special birthday wish so I could have him back.

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    I wished on the full moon and the new moon, and then any moon at all. I wished for nothing else. As time went on I increased my challenges: Alone in the flat one afternoon I stood in the galley kitchen passing my hand as slowly as I dared across the ice-blue flame of the gas ring, once, twice, thrice, until the smell, like burnt bacon rinds, rose from the scorched ends of my fingernails.

    It is life apart, life on hold, life in waiting. You may begin full of strength and hope, or just ignorance, but it is time, nothing more than the unending passage of time that wears down your resilience, like the drip of a tap that carves a groove in the granite below. I know that we have an unfortunate tendency to lump all of sub-Saharan Africa into one entity, but you might hope that the publisher would make some sort of effort even if no-one else does. Sep 09, Andrea rated it it was amazing.

    Forna memoir of her childhood in Sierra Leone is beyond harrowing. She wrote an important book about Africa and gratitude is in order. I learned more than I wanted about betrayal and political jockeying that I could bear. Maybe you are the one who is inviting your mess into your messed up world. God is a gentleman He will NOT force Himself on you or into your situation! But, He's there when you're ready! He brings perfect peace! Batman, Dancing, and Joker: He is at the apex of his insanity.

    Leto's Joker doesn't dance with the devil in the pale moon light Nicholson nor is he an agent of chaos Ledger I don't believe the Joker is pretending to be insane. I do find him hopelessly insane, suffering from a deep rooted psychosis of insanity that's on another level entirely. I could see Wonder Woman's lasso restoring his sanity, and he would be repentant and try to make amends. But it wouldn't have any lasting effects once the lasso came off and the aura wears off.

    Batman, Birthday, and Jack Nicholson: Until then, today April 22 I wanted to wish the talented actor Jack Nicholson a very happy 80th birthday! A Gotham City gangster, Napier, through corruption and deception, was facially scarred with a chemical transformation that dyed his hair green, his skin bleached chalk white, and a failed reconstructive surgery severed critical facial nerves, leaving him with his now ruby red lips spread in a permanent evil grin.

    He will become The Joker, asking all of his victims, including Vicki Vale Nicholson, for reminding us of the healing power of laughter in this fantastic rendition of one of the most popular figures in DC Comics! Thanks for following and we'll have more History of the Batman soon! Dancing, Memes, and Devil:

    Devil Danced Alone, The Devil Danced Alone, The
    Devil Danced Alone, The Devil Danced Alone, The
    Devil Danced Alone, The Devil Danced Alone, The
    Devil Danced Alone, The Devil Danced Alone, The
    Devil Danced Alone, The Devil Danced Alone, The

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