Guest Review: Mistress of the Game by Asabea Ashun
(I was a guest on the Ghanaian Literature Week hosted by Kinna Reads on January 27, 2012, where I did a post on Mistress of the Game by Asabea Ashun. By kind courtesy of Kinna, I’m reproducing the post on my blog.)
About the Author: Asabea Ashun is a Ghanaian professor of Chemistry who lives and teaches in Canada. Mistress of the Game is her first novel. She also has Serwaa Akoto’s Diary, and The Adventures of Kobby Badu-Smith, a science fiction for children.
Mistress of the Game is about marriage of two cultures, African and Western that went wrong in the end because of betrayal of trust . It is also about the politics of new-found oil in Ghana and the greed and dirty dealings that go with it. Mistress of the Game is also about courage, hope and survival in the face of despair and the shattering realisation of living with HIV/AIDS.
The intrigue in the novel is heightened when Sarah, the Ghanaian young woman married to a Canadian, Philip, connive with her pushy and overbearing mother (who incidentally means well) to deceive Philip in the most bizarre and unscrupulous manner ever imagined; juxtaposed with this couple are Jason, Philip’s younger brother and Araba, a young Ghanaian girl who discovers that one of the ways to survive in a dying metropolis that now threatens to come alive through the oil boom and the influx of expatriates, technocrats and crooks alike all wanting to cash in on the ‘liquid gold’, is to make good use of her ‘assets’. Ironically, it is Araba who with her two fatherless children of mixed race, give us hope at the end of the story.
The language is rich with humour, laced with Ghanaian English and Akan akin to Ayikwei Parkes’ Tail of the Blue Bird. The main settings for the plot are Takoradi, in Ghana, and Canada. The writer expounds well researched history and facts that gives credence to her academic background. The descriptions of scenes and planes are so vivid that the reader keeps ohing and ahing in recognition of familiar sights and landmarks. The Ghanaian characters are real, with everyday expressions and attitudes that spell out the ingredients that make the Ghanaian that happy-go-lucky human being, easily able to shrug off problems with that matter of fact approach to life, albeit full of humour.