Drawn from her own experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, Melissa Fischer weaves a rich tale set in 1992, Obuasi, a mining boomtown. The gold mine, West Africa Gold, dams the Gyimi River, stagnating the water source of Gyimiso Kakraba, a village of subsistence farmers who refuse to accept a modern world that has forsaken the art of human connection.
The Advocacy portrays with unsparing detail the reality of this era in Ghana’s history, as well as this moment in the evolution of the dialogue between indigenous communities and transnational extractive industrialists. Fischer provides a rare and intimate view of a broad cross-section of Ghanaian society and the inner workings of a multinational mining corporation.
The Advocacy’s protagonist, Louisa Lehmann, is a gritty and opinionated civil engineer who has returned to Africa from the U.S. to reconcile her past. Louisa exudes pride in her profession, honours her fluid gender, and yields to the greatest lesson of all, taught by the people of Gyimiso Kakraba deep in Ghana’s equatorial forest.
[No one is interested in an engineer’s tale, but everyone needs a civil engineer]
(Kilometer Thirteen, 5 November 2019, 472 pages, ebook, ARC from the author and voluntarily reviewed)
I didn’t know what to expect from this book by an author I’d never heard of before. I was surprised by how well-written the book is and how much I enjoyed it. I haven’t read a lot of books set in West Africa so this was a pleasant departure for me. The descriptions of Ghana were quite vivid and spectacular and I felt like I was really there. Fischer transported me there. There is a lot of information and maps before the book begins which gives information about the naming conventions and languages. This would normally be something that would put me off but I enjoyed this and it helped with reading the book. The Advocacy is the very definition of a page-turner. This broke my heart so many times. I loved it.