Brave Music of a Distant Drum by Manu Herbstein

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In Brave Music of a Distant Drum, a blind old slave woman, Ama, summons her son to come and write down her story so that her granddaughter and her granddaughter's children can one day read it and know their history. Ama's son, Kwame Zumbi - named Zacharias Williams by the white Christians who raised him - considers his mother an old pagan and has little interest in doing more than is necessary to fulfill his obligation to her. How he is changed by the acts of hearing and writing down the details of his mother's story is as powerful and important a story as Ama's. The story of an African enslaved in Brazil, Ama's story is violent - it includes murder, rape, and betrayal - and yet is is also a story of hope, courage, determination and love.


About Manu Herbstein

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Manu Herbstein is the author of Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade which won the 2002 Commonwealth Writer's Prize for best first book. He lives in Ghana.
Published February 15, 2012 by Red Deer Press. 220 pages
Genres: Young Adult. Fiction

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Writing in terse, simple language, the Ghana-born author zigzags between points of view—injecting notes of irony (the slave ship that carries Ama to Brazil is named The Love of Liberty, for instance) and acidly matter-of-fact indictments of the brutality and hypocrisy of white slaveholding Christ...

Feb 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Brave Music of a Distant Drum

Historical Novel Society

The scars of slavery have never healed, and Mr. Herbstein hopes that Brave Music will introduce new readers to the “fetish of slavery” and keep the debate open with his echoes from that distant drum.

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