Friday, January 15, 2021

Accra Noir


Edited by Nana-Ama Danquah

Akashic Books    2020

256 pages     Noir

Well, dear readers, you already know how much I love this noir series of books published by Akashic. I stepped out of my comfort zone to read Accra Noir, because, frankly, I am embarrassed to say that I had no idea where Ghana was on the map of Africa, let alone try to find Accra on a map. In case you are having trouble with your map skills, here are a couple of maps to help.

The primary theme of Accra Noir is money—and all the things the people of the capital city have to do to make a buck. Money is the essential component of each story. As one narrator says, “he was nothing there without money, nobody was. Not even the air of ancient entitlement that he wore held meaning. The one and only thing that held meaning anymore was money.”

I believe that each author had  the true intent of noir in the composition of their stories, and there is a lot of cruelty and murder among the stories. My favorite story involved a dead lover and the butcher in the neighboring market stall. Several of the stories discuss the plight of the women of Accra, and just perhaps, their ideas of vengeance. The Publisher’s Weekly review says that Accra Noir is one of the better Akashic anthologies.

Nana-Ama Danquah, the book’s editor, is a well-known author living in the United States. All the authors in the anthology have an intimate relationship with Accra and its stories. That relationship really adds authenticity to the reader. She says, “Everything in the culture revolves around story, and every story has a moral or theme, one that can be encapsulated in a pithy phrase.” These stories all bear witness to that tradition.

Frankly, I was blown away by these stories, and would encourage lovers of noir fiction to try these out. They are gritty enough to fill your noir needs. I have several new Akashic noir books on my Kindle, and I can’t wait to dig into them. Watch this space.


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