Where Bones Dance : An English Girlhood, An African War
PW Reviews 2007 February #1
Newington fires off short, scattershot chapters to tell a sincere coming-of-age story in this debut "autobiographical" novel. In mid-'60s Lagos, during the lead-up to Nigeria's Biafran War, young narrator Anna lives predominantly in an imaginary world where she and her friend, Dave (a girl whose real name is Helen), are sailors and spies. Anna's mother and father, respectively a sexually abusive drunk and rarely present British diplomat, provide little in the way of parenting, leaving Anna to find her own role models (such as Christine, the family's servant, or Aunt Elsie, her grandmother's "bloody queer" friend). Sheltered for the most part from the war, Anna and Dave together try to make sense of their rarified world. Readers willing to forgive the preciousness (Anna is, after all, a child) will find some beautiful passages tucked away in the meandering narrative. (Apr.)[Page 42]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.