Listen to an excerpt from Hold, the debut novel from Michael Donkor set in Ghana and South-East London
More about the book!
Hold is a moving and unexpectedly funny exploration of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness.
‘Both moving and funny, a big-hearted book that will stay with you.’ – The Guardian (Best Fiction for 2018)
Moving between Ghana and London, Michael Donkor’s debut novel follows three adolescent girls grappling with a shared experience: the joys and sorrows of growing up.
Donkor was born in London, to Ghanaian parents, and teaches English Literature in West London. Many of the issues in this novel are close to his heart, and his writing won him a place on the Writers’ Centre Inspires Scheme in 2014, where he received a year’s mentoring from Daniel Hahn.
About the book
Belinda knows how to follow the rules. She has learnt the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi to be a housegirl.
Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven years old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had.
Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A pupil at her exclusive South-London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents. Until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda might be just the shining example Amma needs.
So Belinda is summoned from Ghana to London, to befriend a troubled girl who shows no desire for her friendship. She encounters a city as bewildering as it is exciting, and as she tries to impose order on her unsettling new world, Belinda’s phonecalls back home to Mary become a lifeline.
As the Brixton summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover the beginnings of an unexpected kinship. But when the cracks in their defences open up, the secrets they have both been holding tight to threaten to seep out …
‘You have to imagine. That’s how I told myself.’
‘Imagine that you are the kind of girl that can cope with it, even if you are not.’
Read an excerpt: