The Housemaid by Amma Darko

Date Read: May 7th 2015

Published: 1998

Publisher: Heinemann (African Writer’s Series)

Pages: 107

the housemaid

The Blurb

A dead baby and bloodstained clothes are discovered near a small village. Everyone is ready to comment on the likely story behind the abandoned infant. The men have one opinion, the women another. As the story rapidly unfolds it becomes clear that seven different women played their part in the drama. All of them are caught in a web of superstition, ignorance, greed and corruption.


Review – ★★★ (3 stars)

I bought The Housemaid back in 2008, but finally gave this book a chance and finished reading it in May of this year. This is such a messy, messy story- but in a good way! This novel tells a story of how a poor family in a Ghanaian village decides to jilt a rich businesswoman in the city, by using their daughter – who becomes a housemaid, to attempt to steal this rich woman’s wealth. As usual, Amma Darko tackles a lot of social issues in this novel and this is why I respect her as a writer. Darko explores issues of socio-economic differences between the rich and the poor, city life versus village life, feminism, spinsterhood, gender roles, religious beliefs and superstition. I liked how the story was consummated at the end, even though this novel consists of a series of crazy events.

But I was a little disappointed with Amma Darko’s writing style in this novel. The writing was choppy and too colloquial for my liking. It was quite annoying to spot basic grammatical errors and the misusage of words like ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ in some chapters. Nonetheless, the social issues addressed in this book made me appreciate the story. Amma Darko’s novel Beyond the Horizon is still a gem and a more meticulously written book than The HousemaidThe Housemaid is more of a 2.5 stars rating for me.

★★★ (3 stars) – Good book. I recommend it, I guess.

Purchase The Housemaid on Amazon

10 thoughts on “The Housemaid by Amma Darko

    1. African writers use the grammatical rules of their native languages to write in English. It symbolizes Africans speaking English with the phonetic rules of their languages.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I never particularly liked the Housemaid when I read it. I found the characters a bit stereotyped and well not very well developed. The plot also didn’t flow for me. Certainly Faceless is far better written.

    Great review, Darkowaah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Celestine. The plot was all over the place! This isn’t the best Amma Darko book for sure… I still have to pick up ‘Faceless’. ‘Beyond The Horizon’ is my fave thus far.


  2. hate the fact that i will be sitting for my final paper in reference to this book, Amma should have done better than this


  3. To understand the book,she used a style like in Frankenstein,what should be the end of the book was already encountered at beginning.
    Every society is different from its culture and is a good book for African because it is the mirror of the society but somewhere in the world the book might be weird because they don’t understand


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