A powerful, haunting, contemporary debut that steps seamlessly from the horrors of people-trafficking to the magic of African folklore, by an award-winning Ghanaian-British filmmaker.
Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea-chest laden with treasure. It seems she is the sole survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying migrants and refugees. Her people.
Fourteen years on she’s a member of Mama Rose’s unique and dazzling circus. But, from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them:
A bamboo flute. A golden bangle. A ripening mango which must not fall . . . if Sante is to tell their story and her own.
Rich in the rhythms and colours of Africa and glittering circus days. Unflinching in its dark revelations about life. Yaba Badoe’s novel is beautiful and cruel and will linger long in the memory.
Where I write
Guest Post by Yaba Badoe
I work in a study that was once my bedroom. It’s a space full of books, a writing desk, cupboards for stationary and files, and a thin, tallboy dresser where I store sunglasses and other knick-knacks. Above all, the space in which I write is a place I associate with waking dreams and hard work. It’s where I wrote most of my debut YA novel for Zephyr, A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, which is now out in paperback.
The novel tells a story that touches on people trafficking, migration and dislocation. Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea chest laden with treasures. It seems she is the survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying migrants and refugees. Fourteen years on she’s a member of Mama Rose’s unique and dazzling circus. But from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them.
What I enjoy best about my study is the view of our courtyard garden through French windows. The windows open out to pots of rhododendron, hydrangeas, geranium, poppies and acanthus. Over summer the garden, a suntrap, is gloriously warm and I spend hours pottering about in it feeding and watering my plants. I also spend more time than I should time simply gazing outside.
What you can’t see in the photograph is the contents of the room I’m writing in. Behind me is a blue-grey sofa that I sometimes lounge on; a sofa that’s also serves as a bed for my Most Favoured Guests.
On a wall to my right is a hand-painted papyrus picture of the ancient Egyptian Tree of Life, a gift I bought myself when I was in Luxor at the first African Film Festival there. On the many bookshelves in front of me are framed photos of my maternal grandparents, a black and white postcard of the blues singer, Bessie Smith, and framed photograph of me with one of my oldest friends, Didi. We were both in our twenties back then. We’d just returned from a visit to a flea market where we’d bought hats when a friend of ours, a photographer took a portrait of of fooling about in our new hats.
Even though my study is an important part of my life, I can work anywhere I take my laptop. I wrote a chapter of A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars in hotel room in Zanzibar, when I was attending a film festival there three years ago. Moreover, I often write in the sitting room of my family’s guesthouse in Ghana: a spacious room with African print curtains and a view of the main family house. But of all the places I’ve worked in, this room with its view of my garden, is the one I always return to.
To read an interview with Yaba Badoe click on this link HERE
Yaba Badoe is an award-winning Ghanaian-British documentary filmmaker and writer.
In 2014 Yaba was nominated for the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema award. She lives in London.
Yaba Badoe on Twitter: @yaba_badoe
Leo Nickolls (illustrator) on Twitter: @leonickolls