Where Bones Dance: An English Girlhood, An African War (Hardcover)
In this stunning debut novel, a child dissects the darkness at the heart of her British diplomatic family. Living in Nigeria on the brink of civil war, Anna—also known as Jake—becomes blood brothers with Dave, the Korean American daughter of a C.I.A. operative. They do push-ups, collect pornography, and plot lives of unmarried freedom while around them a country disintegrates. Luscious, terrifying, and raw, Nigeria itself becomes a lesson in endurance, suffering, love.
Stories are layered upon stories: Anna's grandmother tells stories about life as a white woman on the Gold Coast; the clairvoyant and closeted "Aunt" Elsie gives Anna a story of transformation to hold onto in the coming tumult of adolescence. Yet Where Bones Dance also spirals down to the stories that are not told—sexual abuse, the myth of benign colonialism, the chaos of postcolonial Africa. Sensual and fantastical by turns, this moving, funny, immensely readable book delivers an understanding of the interplay of sexuality, gender, race, and war that is sophisticated beyond the years of its intrepid narrator. Winner, Georges Bugnet Award for Novel, Alberta Literary Awards, Writers Guild of Alberta
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians and the Public Library Association
About the Author
Nina Newington was born in Hong Kong and as a child lived in Germany, Israel, Nigeria, and Britain. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Sinister Wisdom, Resurgent: New Writings by Women,and The American Voice. She lives in the hills of western Massachusetts.
Praise for Where Bones Dance: An English Girlhood, An African War…
"Newington's prose is gorgeous—beautiful, difficult, painful, and lyric. It's poetry all the time."—Judith Katz, author of The Escape Artist
“Through stunning, magnetic, precise prose, Newington paints the portrait of a world both gorgeous and terrifying; we are taken into the consciousness of the daughter of a British diplomat during the Nigerian Civil War, a child trying to puzzle through the mysteries of family, culture, gender, and place. There are no conclusions here; the world reveals itself in its bafflement, its losses and betrayals, counterbalanced by moments of beauty that assuage, delight, and fascinate. This is a beautiful book!”—Carol Potter, Antioch University Los Angeles
"Nina Newington's Where Bones Dance is as fresh with the sounds and sights of Africa through a child's eyes as the opening of a Moonflower in a magic interval while ‘a fly on my knee cleans its head with its arms.’"—Kate Millett, author of Sexual Politics