Sankofa: A Novel by Chibundu Onuzo


A woman wondering who she really is goes in search of a father she never knew—only to find something far more complicated than she ever expected—in this moving and hopeful novel of self-discovery for readers of An American Marriage.

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“What would you do if all the relationships in your life were falling apart—your mother has died, your husband is an adulterer, and your daughter no longer needs you—and then you found out your long-lost-father were a dictator? If you’re Anna, you embark on a journey as hopelessly mythical as it is universally desirable: she wants to find herself.

With a propulsive plot, clean and direct prose, and a clear character arc, Onuzo traverses themes of belonging and what it is to never belong with deft.”


Anna is at a stage of her life when she’s beginning to wonder who she really is. In her 40s, she has separated from her husband, her daughter is all grown up, and her mother—the only parent who raised her—is dead.

Searching through her mother’s belongings one day, Anna finds clues about the African father she never knew. His student diaries chronicle his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London. Anna discovers that he eventually became the president—some would say dictator—of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive…

When Anna decides to track her father down, a journey begins that is disarmingly moving, funny, and fascinating. Like the metaphorical bird that gives the novel its name, Sankofa expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present to address universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for a family’s hidden roots.

Examining freedom, prejudice, and personal and public inheritance, Sankofa is a story for anyone who has ever gone looking for a clear identity or home, and found something more complex in its place.

Sankofa: A Novel by Chibundu Onuzo