Monday, March 4, 2019

Granite by Jenny Robson

Granite by Jenny Robson is a quick read aimed at younger readers (I'd say about 10-14 or thereabouts) that dips into the world of the young nobleman Mokomba, as he narrates the story of the downfall of the great African city Zimba Remabwe. His version of events is supplemented by the notes shared by his friend Shafiq, whose general knowledge and literacy offers context.

The king of Zimba Remabwe tasks Mokomba's father with finding out the secrets of building cathedrals in the style of the "Milk People" to the north, so a party sets out upon a dangerous journey, by land and by boat, until they reach England. What they find there and what they bring back is not quite what they expect, and we are offered the story bit by bit by unreliable narrators until we eventually have the bigger picture.

Jenny's writing style is engaging and fluid, and her love of the setting shines through with this telling that brings us an Africa-centred adventure, and a young man's coming of age. My only complaint is that the story is too short – there was so much potential to expand this into something more layered. This is a fascinating glimpse into a world of tradition and history, and I was left wondering what else could have been added to give the story further depth. As it is, this is a poignant read that may spark interest for those who'd like to know more about African history.

No comments:

Post a Comment