The Day of the Orphan by Dr Nat Tanoh
|The Day of the Orphan by Dr Nat Tanoh|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: A tale of life in Africa told through the eyes of an eighteen year old who rises to become more than he could ever have imagined, The Day of the Orphan enchants the reader with a perfectly blended combination of danger, humour, despair and warmth.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: May 2018|
|Publisher: Acorn Independent Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Saga is eighteen and, like many eighteen-year olds, his prime concerns are listening to what his mum calls hop-hip, eating copious amounts of food, and learning about girls. Living in an affluent, liberal and protected suburb, he has a good life. However, the suburb is in Africa, where childhoods can be snatched in an instant. When his friends and family are dragged into the conflict raging around the dictatorship that Saga lives under, he is forced to become an unlikely revolutionary. Can chubby Saga really stand up to a murderous regime? And can he stay one step ahead of the soldiers desperate to stop him?
Author Dr Nat Tanoh was born in Ghana but grew up in exile in England due to his parent's opposition to a one-party state. Having worked with student and workers' movements, as well as a consultant in development projects in Ghana and across Africa, Dr Tanoh has a passion for democratic social development which is hugely clear when reading The Day of the Orphan. Here he brings his own experiences, combined with those of friends and family to provide a vivid, immediate, horrifying, yet affectionate and warm portrayal of life in a dangerous, dark time.
I must admit that Africa is the continent I know the least about – and the one I've yet to visit. Such a varied, exciting and politically diverse continent, it's one that's ripe for exploration in literature – and author Dr. Tanoh brings his own past and experiences to craft a story that's as compelling as it is educational.
Saga, the lead of The Day of the Orphan, is a real and relatable character and acts realistically given that he's an eighteen-year-old thrust into some rather horrific situations, and forced to grow up incredibly fast. His motivations ring true – and he's a hugely enjoyable person with which to spend 300 odd pages. His love for food allows Dr. Tanoh to bring to life cuisine which is so perfectly described one can almost smell it through the pages – and it's in the world building the The Day of the Orphan really comes to life. As someone who has never managed to cross over to Africa, I was rather amazed to have it brought to life so very vividly by both the descriptions and language used here – there's an immediacy to the writing that pulls the reader to this different land and plunges them straight into the action.
Of course, this is a story that's full of turmoil and danger, but Dr. Tanoh is careful to blend the drama of his overarching plot with subtle moments of affection and humour – reminding the reader that Saga is still a young man and endearing both him and his relations to the reader with an easy familiarity that's wonderful to read. This is a book of contrasts – moving, funny, tense and wonderfully written, it reflects on past events whilst looking to the future and does so with no end of warmth and passion. Many thanks for the copy – I'd be eager to read more about Saga and his world in the future.
For further reading I recommend We Used to Be Kings by Stewart Foster – another read that explores youth in difficult situations – and does so with warmth, empathy and kindness.
You can read more about Dr Nat Tanoh here.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Day of the Orphan by Dr Nat Tanoh at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Day of the Orphan by Dr Nat Tanoh at Amazon.com.
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