Title: Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories
Author: Ama Ata Aidoo
Publisher: Ayebia Clarke Publishers Ltd, UK
Publication Date: 2012
Reason for reading: For the Ghanaian Literature Week hosted by Kinna
A collection of twelve fine short stories (the third) written by the celebrated Ghanaian author, Ama Ata Aidoo, Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories is about every day concerns relating to women, age, love, marriage, class, war and poverty, cultural issues and identity.
Ms Aidoo approaches these concerns in a candid manner, with a fresh and unique perspective, delving deep into the psyche of the characters in a bid to make the reader understand where they are coming from and where they are going, especially where she questions old traditions and long-held views in Ghana. I see this also as an attempt to make the reader identify and perhaps sympathize with the characters. Most of the characters are strong-willed and assertive, all the more so to buttress the poignancy of these concerns and consequences.
The author makes good use of humour extensively in her narration. In her own delicate but powerful style she engages the reader through her own brand of diction, a spicy mix of precise choice words, phrases and proverbs stringing together to form beautiful narrative with a pure Ghanaian feel. Transliterations abound here and on occasion, certain phrases or sentences cannot be properly translated to create the desired impact unless it is translated directly from the local dialect.
In No Nuts, a good dose of the Fante dialect is sprinkled in the narrative for the desired effect and for good measure.
Both Diplomatic Pounds, the title story and Mixed Messages are a frank look into women’s obsession with weight where Ama Ata Aidoo offers two interesting sides of the coin in a clearly humorous manner.
Issues of race and or skin colour and gender are given prominence in the collection through stories like Outfoxed, Rain and Did you Ever? In the latter the following powerful statement by Koku says it all.
‘Yes, where I come from girls don’t matter. Nobody wants them. Only boys are desired, cherished….‘ p42
Recipe for a Stone Meal is a powerfully poignant two page story of the effects of war in Africa, told simply and seemingly seamlessly.
Feely Feely is the only story among the collection which gives insight into the lives of a father and son.
I highly recommend Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories to all lovers of the short story genre and African literature for its fresh presentation of how ordinary and everyday issues affect us ‘modern’ women. I most certainly identified with some of the concerns. 🙂
To learn more about the author please visit here
Nana Prah said:
Thanks for the insightful review, Celestine.
You are very welcome, Nana. Somehow I don’t think my review has done justice to the anthology!
Lucid Gypsy said:
It sounds excellent Celestine, I love a good anthology!
Oh Gilly, do read it. It’s simply great.
Lucid Gypsy said:
Well I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list as my book stack is getting huge!
You can say that again. I tired reading a few books when I recently went ‘off’ blogging but I guess I will need all the holiday and leave I can get to catch up. (sigh)
The Other Side of Ugly - Letters to Humanity said:
Got my attention. I love this type of reading pleasure books. I’ll start with Diplomatic Pounds!
Please do, Sheri. I should love to read your thoughts 🙂
Mary Okeke reviews said:
Afua. nice review… I have added it to my TBR, it seems to be a light and easy read. Thanks for the review.
It is, Mary. Many thanks dear. 🙂
sounds like women no matter where we live struggle in the same issues – i like this straight forward review. you give enough to tantalize. going off on a tangent, sometimes movie preview show so much that it makes me think, well, no need to see the movie. the preview gave it all. your book review = good preview. 🙂
Thanks a million for the nice words, Sun 🙂
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Wiuld be interesting to read of the life of women in a different culture than mine, one of such beauty. Your review is fabulous!
Most grateful, Eva
Celestine l think l have to get them and read and thanks very much. Love
You should Naa. You are welcome. And thanks for the visit. 🙂
Great review! I’ve been meaning to read her work for a while
Thank you Afrolibrarians. Do read her works; you will be am zed!
Lady Jaye said:
Great review! Ama Ata Aidoo’s work is always a great pleasure to read 😀
Thank you Lady Jaye. 🙂 Indeed yes. There is a poignancy to her works that draws one in. 🙂
Ye Pirate said:
Wonderful write-up. Makes me so keen to get it.
Try and get a copy dear Managua. It will give you an insight into the workings of the mind of a Ghanaian woman! 🙂 🙂
It’s remarkable to visit this web site and reading the views of all colleagues regarding this
article, while I am also eager of getting experience.
Thanks for coming by Jasmin. Glad to be of service 🙂
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Thanks for reviewing Diplomatic Pounds and for participating in #GhanaLit Week. Would you believe that I’m yet to read the published book even though I’m familiar with the unpublished stories? All in good time. My favorite from the collection is Stone Meal.
You are welcome Kinna. I was too glad to participate. I had wanted to do two or more books but you know the hassles! I loved Stone Meal too. 🙂
Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the great work.
Thank you 🙂