Someone Knows My Name

Someone Knows My Name

4.3 251
by Lawrence Hill

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"Wonderfully in the slave narratives that inspired it, language is power."—Nancy Kline, New York Times Book ReviewSee more details below


"Wonderfully in the slave narratives that inspired it, language is power."—Nancy Kline, New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Globe and Mail
“A masterpiece, daring and impressive in its geographic, historical and human reach.”
Delia Jarrett-Macauley - Washington Post
“Lawrence Hill's hugely impressive historical work is completely engrossing and deserves a wide, international readership.”
Jennifer Berman - Bookforum
“With grace and compassion, Hill populates true and harrowing experience with an authentic hero—just as good historical fiction requires.”
Kim Lundstrom - Real Change
“I found myself surprised on occasion to catch sight of Mr. Hill's name on the cover.... He had me believing that this tale came not from the imagination and research of a 21st-century male author, but from the experience of an 18th-century African woman.”
Charles Shea LeMone - Roanoke Times
“An inspirational novel of imaginative excellence and captivating power.... Every step of the way, Lawrence Hill offers readers a vivid portrayal of the emotional landscape that brings Aminata's tale to life. I highly recommend reading this poignant book.”
Eileen Charbonneau - Historical Novels Review
“Astonishing in scope, humanity and beauty, this is one of those very rare novels in which the deep joy of reading transcends its time and place. Like ?To Kill a Mockingbird?, ?Someone Knows My Name? lets readers experience a life, one footstep at a time, beside an unforgettable protagonist.”
Nancy Kline
…[a] wonderfully written fictional slave narrative…
—The New York Times
Delia Jarrett-Macauley
Lawrence Hill's historical intelligence was already manifest in his 1997 novel, Any Known Blood, in which he used racial and geographic borders to explore and transform a Canadian story. In his new novel, Someone Knows My Name, Hill has extended his range and refined his craft to produce a compelling narrative that moves from mid-18th-century West Africa to South Carolina, Manhattan, Nova Scotia, Sierra Leone and London…Hill's hugely impressive historical work is completely engrossing and deserves a wide, international readership.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Stunning, wrenching and inspiring, the fourth novel by Canadian novelist Hill (Any Known Blood) spans the life of Aminata Diallo, born in Bayo, West Africa, in 1745. The novel opens in 1802, as Aminata is wooed in London to the cause of British abolitionists, and begins reflecting on her life. Kidnapped at the age of 11 by British slavers, Aminata survives the Middle Passage and is reunited in South Carolina with Chekura, a boy from a village near hers. Her story gets entwined with his, and with those of her owners: nasty indigo producer Robinson Appleby and, later, Jewish duty inspector Solomon Lindo. During her long life of struggle, she does what she can to free herself and others from slavery, including learning to read and teaching others to, and befriending anyone who can help her, black or white. Hill handles the pacing and tension masterfully, particularly during the beginnings of the American revolution, when the British promise to free Blacks who fight for the British: Aminata's related, eventful travels to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone follow. In depicting a woman who survives history's most trying conditions through force of intelligence and personality, Hill's book is a harrowing, breathtaking tour de force. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Around 1745, young Aminata Diallo is abducted from her West African home and sold into slavery in South Carolina. An observant and highly intelligent child, she quickly learns not only how to speak English but also how to read and write. On a trip to New York City with her master, Aminata escapes during chaotic anti-British demonstrations. She helps the embattled British compile The Book of Negroes, a list of thousands of black Loyalists, and these slaves are transported to Nova Scotia and granted their freedom. Later some of them are sent to Sierra Leone as part of an abolitionist social experiment, and Aminata finally realizes her long-held dream of returning home. By setting the book early in the Revolutionary period, Canadian novelist Hill (Any Known Blood) finds something new in the familiar slave narrative. Unfortunately, his didactic purpose gets the upper hand and overwhelms the story. Aminata is simply too noble to be believable, and other major characters are mainly symbolic. Nevertheless, Hill's fascinating source material makes this a good choice for book clubs and discussion groups. [See Prepub Alert, LJ7/07.]
—Edward St. John

School Library Journal

Adult/High School -During the 18th century, Aminata Diallo is kidnapped from her village, survives the ocean voyage on a slave ship, is purchased by an indigo producer from South Carolina, and gets caught in the Revolutionary War. Later, she is traded to a Jewish duty inspector. She marries Chekura, a boy from a neighboring village, and gives birth to two children. Aminata's trials continue as she and her husband take part in Britain's promise of freedom for Loyalists by traveling to Nova Scotia, where she continues to long to return to Africa, but ends up in London instead. Throughout the story, her major assets are her ability to read and write and to serve as a midwife, which help in her quest for freedom. With mature themes (e.g., a rape scene on the ship, descriptive killings, and sexual situations), this book is suited for older teens. Hill clearly researched multiple people and sources to provide an accurate account of Aminata's heroic journey and brings to life crucial world history. Teens who enjoyed Sharon Draper's Copper Sun (S & S, 2006) will appreciate this page-turning novel.-Gregory Lum, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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8.24(w) x 5.42(h) x 1.29(d)

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