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Set in Sierra Leone, West Africa, A Tale of Three Women is epic in scope, covering a span of about sixty years and touching upon the most important developments in that country’s recent history from about 1918 to the 1970s. It encompasses events such as the worldwide influenza epidemic, the Second World War, the preparation for independence, the achievement of independence, and the post-independence malaise. But all these serve only as a background against which Eustace Palmer deftly weaves the experiences of three very different women who were originally friends at a traditional sewing school, but whose fortunes take widely different turns through their different characters and the choices they and others make. In the process the novel becomes a penetrating study of the condition of women—women whose husbands are chosen for them; women who lack opportunity for advancement in a male-dominated world; women who are exploited, abused, and betrayed by men; women who are also capable of oppressing and betraying each other; and women who are capable of standing on their own and making it in spite of men.
This is a tale about friendship, class-consciousness and snobbery, betrayal, treachery, love, hatred, and death—a rich fabric into which the author cleverly weaves the customs and traditions of the Creoles of Sierra Leone’s Western area, such as the ceremonies that accompany the various rites of passage like birth, weddings and funerals. The subtle delineation of character and evocation of atmosphere make this densely textured but eminently readable work a fascinating tale.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A native Sierra Leonean, Eustace Palmer, one of the pioneer critics of African literature, has published one book on the English novel—Studies in the English Novel—and four on African literature: An Introduction to the African Novel; The Growth of the African Novel; Of War and Women, Oppression and Optimism: New Essays on the African Novel; and Knowledge Is More Than Mere Words: A Critical Introduction to Sierra Leonean Literature (jointly edited with Abioseh Michael Porter). He has also published over sixty articles on English and African literatures. For several years, he was Associate Editor of African Literature Today and was President of the African Literature Association from 2006 to 2007. A Tale of Three Women is his first published novel. He currently teaches at Georgia College & State University where he is Professor of English and Coordinator of Africana Studies.
Extact from Doc. P’s must read novel : A tale of Three Women
“So you are the ‘senjago’ who is trying to take my husband away from me! You are the filthy ‘raray’ girl who is incapable of finding her own man but has to steal other women’s husbands!”
She then turned towards the street and shouted, “Pa Demba Road people please come and see the slut who has stolen my husband and keeps him here in her nasty house, preventing him every day from going home to his wife and family! Come and see the senjago!”
She then picked up a small tin bucket and a nearby stone and started beating the bucket with the stone, making such a racket that that the very dead must must have woken up. ( page 9)
“Akpa ooman doyah, buy you roboh rum,
Akpa ooman doyah, buy you roboh rum,
Buy you penny ginger, buy you one cup sugar.
Make you ginger beer sweet
Tangain s boy go buy am”
Roland Bankole Marke will publish a full review of the book very soon. To obtain copies of Doc. P’s book, please contact Roland on his website: www.rolandmarke.com and fill out the contact/order form for more details, call 904-645-5738 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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