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Publisher's Summary

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick

A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club pick

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction Futures Prize

An Amazon Best Book of the Year

Anna is at a stage of her life when she's beginning to wonder who she really is. She has separated from her husband, her daughter is all grown up and her mother - the only parent who raised her - is dead. 

Searching through her mother's belongings, she finds clues about the West African father she never knew. Through reading his student diary, chronicling his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London, she discovers that he eventually became the president - some would say the dictator - of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive. 

She decides to track him down and so begins a funny, painful, fascinating journey, and an exploration of race, identity and what we pass on to our children.

©2021 Chibundu Onuzo (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"A fantastic novel about a woman's search for her personal, familial and national identity." (Sefi Atta)

"Wonderful. Poignant and powerful and so timely and the beautiful ending had me in tears, reminding me to look within as well as without for my answers." (Stella Duffy)

"A hugely compelling novel about identity and the stories we tell about ourselves." (Anna James)

"Slick pacing and unpredictable developments keep the reader alert right up to the novel's exhilarating ending." (Guardian Book of the Day)

"I LOVED Sankofa SO MUCH. It explores identity, duality, belonging, racism, post-colonialism." (Marian Keyes)

"A captivating story about a mixed-race British woman who goes in search of the West African father she never knew.... A beautiful book about a woman brave enough to discover her true identity." (Reese Witherspoon)

What listeners say about Sankofa

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    4 out of 5 stars

Lovely unusual story, beautifully narrated

I really enjoyed this story, I found it novel, and sincerely written, narrated with feeling and very easy to listen to

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  • Tsitsi Mhene
  • 12-13-21

Western telling of an African story

I was disappointed by the accents put on by the narrator. The African accents were identical to the Phillipina one and distracted from the story. As a Zimbabwean I was also disappointed by the mispronounced name Phiri - this would have been easy to verify.

The story itself was written from a Western point of view although there was some attempt to incorporate local view points. Overall it felt like the same story of African dictators sold by the media and did not give a nuanced deeper view.

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  • Kerry 22
  • 10-07-21

Great read

Loved it - the narrator was amazing- I thought the ending was a little abrupt and I was actually waiting for the next chapter to start ! Very disappointed it didn’t continue - a fantastic read

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bella A
  • 01-05-22

Disappointing

I am a huge fan of this author (loved 'Welcome to Lagos' and quite enjoyed 'Spider King's Daughter'). Unfortunately, 'Sankofa' did not work for me. The premise was interesting, but it did not quite land. I could not stand the main character and as the story was essentially from her perspective, it made it difficult to enjoy the book. Pretty much all the characters around her were far more interesting and the book would have been more enjoyable had it been told from their perspectives (including her annoying husband). The narrator did not help - she made the character come across as really whiney. None of this has put me off the author though - hopefully the next one will be better for me.

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  • Trudi
  • 01-01-22

Brilliant

Original,captivating and memorable
Beautifully read I adored this book I highly recommend it takes you on a journey you don’t want to leave

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  • M.certified
  • 12-17-21

So beautiful

This book was truly amazing. The emotional story takes you on a smooth journey full of nuance and relatable irony especially from an African perspective. I would fully recommend this listen, it was thoroughly enjoyable.