The village of Nambonkaha in the Ivory Coast is a place where electricity hasn't yet arrived, where sorcerers still conjure magic, where the tok-tok sound of women pounding corn fills the morning air like a drumbeat. As Sarah Erdman enters the social fold of the village as a Peace Corps volunteer, she finds that Nambonkaha is also a place where AIDS threatens and poverty is constant, where women suffer the indignities of patriarchal customs, and where children work like adults while still managing to dream. Lyrical and topical, Erdman's beautiful debut captures the astonishing spirit of an unforgettable community.
Praise for Nine Hills to Nambonkaha
“Sarah Erdman's voice rings with a distinct and refreshing intimacy....This book is simply about people and their stories. In the joys and failures of daily routines in a small African village, she finds life itself.” —Peter Hessler, author of Rivertown
“Exemplary...The writing has the narrative pulse of good fiction, and is as absorbing.” —Norman Rush, author of Mortals
“Sarah Erdman has been blessed with these gifts: a fervent curiosity, a generous heart, a lightly self-mocking manner, and a fluent and poetic language...A vivid, at turns hilarious, at turns terrifying, important, and beautiful book.” —Melissa Fay Greene, author of Praying for Sheetrock
“It is rare to be so completely transported to another land....[Erdman's] powers of observation, her prose, and her daring are truly Orwellian.” —Abraham Verghese, author of My Own Country