Saturday’s Shadows by Ayesha H. Attah

Date Read: February 27th 2016

Published: January 2015

Publisher: World Editions

Pages: 352

Saturday's Shadows

The Blurb

The protagonists of Saturday’s Shadows experience the fine line between sanity and madness as they try to find and hold on to love in the volatile world of 1990s West Africa. After a seventeen-year military dictatorship, a country tries to find it’s footing while the members of the middle-class Avoka family lurch towards destruction. They live in a politically complex climate, a time so tenuous that the country could easily dip back into its military past.


Review – ★★★ (3 stars)

Saturday’s Shadows is a multi-voice novel about the Avoka family in an unnamed West African country. Readers meet Theo – the head of the Avoka family, who is working on the president – Dr. Karamoh Saturday’s memoir and might be caught up in dangerous political risks. His wife is Zahra, who works in the farming industry but is pre-occupied with re-living her past love life with an old flame. And there’s Kojo, their only child who is struggling to keep up with schoolwork at the prestigious International Secondary School. Atsu, the Avoka family’s house help is straight out of the village and is busy balancing learning to read and write English while trying to stay out of trouble with a suspicious man who admires her.

Saturday’s Shadows is a decent novel and Ayesha H. Attah does an amazing job with character development. Character development is a huge strength of Ayesha Harruna Attah’s and I remember truly enjoying the character development of characters like Sugri and Akua-Afriyie in Harmattan Rain back in 2014. My favorite character in Saturday’s Shadows is Kojo. He is such a witty, hilarious, typical teenage boy with insecurities and worries of growing up. I was always happy to read his chapters in this novel as he finds young love and struggles with bullies and Math at school. My least favorite character in this novel is Kojo’s mother – Zahra. She’s such selfish mother and wife! Throughout the book, she only lives to satisfy her own wants and needs, which put her health and marriage at risk. Theo Avoka’s chapters are intriguing as well. He gives the novel a political feel, which is a different dimension to the family-oriented theme of this novel.

Because this story takes place in an unnamed West African nation, the different characters have various names of West African origin. For example, some characters have Nigerian names like Kunle and Ngozi ; Ghanaian names like Atsu and Kojo ; Senegalese names like Ndeye and Diouf. This may seem trivial, but I really loved how there was a cute blend of West African names in this novel! But it took me 2 months to finish Saturday’s Shadows – I started it a day after Christmas and ended up taking a break from the book when I got to page 260 or so. I think I was just craving a story that was more fast-paced and exciting. Why did all the good action have to happen on page 300, almost towards the end? After I picked this up again in February, I found the storyline to be a bit predictable. I’m a huge fan of Ayesha H. Attah’s work, but this book wasn’t as exciting for me as Harmattan Rain. Definitely read this book if you enjoy character development and a family themed story!

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

Check out some photos from the Saturday’s Shadows book reading I attended back in 2015 – here.

Ayesha H. Attah is working on a new novel called One Hundred Wells of Salaga! Read more about it – here. I’m excited for it!!


Purchase Saturday’s Shadows on Book Depository

7 thoughts on “Saturday’s Shadows by Ayesha H. Attah

  1. I feel like every book I’ve read set in Africa has a well-to-do family and their maid from a village who is clearly different culturally (city mouse and country mouse) and always struggles with literacy. I’m not sure why that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Melanie! You aren’t sure of the fact that worldwide, people who are usually of a lower socioeconomic background don’t have access to education and are relegated to subservient jobs? Or that in most African fiction you’ve read, storylines tend to usually portray middle class versus lower class? I’m not sure exactly what you mean… lol

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, of course all societies worldwide have issues with access to education. What I mean is, why is that (well-off family + their illiterate help) the go-to plot that I always read? Now, of course it may be that I haven’t read widely enough, but I’m always curious as to why that dynamic (well-off family + their illiterate help) is at the heart of the story. I always want to know about just the person in the subservient role and his/her family and culture. How did they get where they are…BEFORE the well-to-do family employed them? Not that this person won’t have a relationship with well-to-do families, but why not leave that aspect of the person’s life in the shadows, as opposed to leaving his/her village in the shadows. Just an observation.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohh I understand you now! Umm, it may seem like the go-to plot because its actually the reality. A family with a help (from the village or from a lower socioeconomic background) is usually the family dynamic in most families. In Saturday’s Shadows, we get a good glimpse of Atsu (the help’s) past, values etc. There are a good number of novels that highlight only the help – for example, ‘Minaret’ by Leila Aboulela (Sudan) does an amazing job at writing a storyline around the help who is the main character. You should check it out! I also wrote a book review on that book. There are so many more- I’ll get back to you (on Twitter) when I think of others!


  3. I love family themes stories so I might just have to grab this. Loved your review. I’ve dropped a couple of books myself and they aways picked up right after the point that I stopped

    Liked by 1 person

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