Year of Publication: 1991
When I first saw Darmani’s Grief Childin the bookstore and looked at the title, many synonyms came to mind… sorrow, pain, anguish, misery and any other word you may want to associate with the word ‘Grief’. Undeniably, the title is very much reflective of what pertains in the book.
The story revolves around a young child named Adu, and is told almost entirely through the eyes of this child. Throughout the book, we follow Adu’s encounters with the natural element of death that swipes many of his relatives, and we share the pains, sorrow, and grief he endures. In a sense, it is the issue of death that becomes paramount in the entire story, and how this affects the young Adu.
It is interesting to follow Adu through turbulent times and how he does survive. The beginning of the story in itself starts gloomily as we meet words like ‘darkness’ and ‘dying moon’ in the village of Susa. Does the story end gloomily in the same way it started? There is a good amount of suspense right from the first chapter that will ignite readers’ interest.
This story has a West African flavor. The village life of a typical Ghanaian setting comes alive as you read along, and I, for one, could nearly smell the breadth of Ghanaian village life. The story is written in a simple language and yet Darmani manages to tell the story with a good flow of events. It is also a fast read – I read it in a day.
First published by Chariot Victor Publishing in 1991, Darmani’s Grief Child won the 1992 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for “Best First Book from the Africa Region”.