Abdalla Ndao’s journey from the small village of Casamance, Senegal to film school at NYU is a testament to the power of cinema to inspire and shape lives. The movies shown by the missionaries in his hometown sparked a passion in Abdalla that led him to pursue a career in filmmaking. Now, as he works on his documentary, he finds himself thinking about Nowace, a woman he left behind in Casamance. Little does he know that she has been sending him monthly letters, hoping for a reply.
Abdalla’s return to Casamance is not solely motivated by nostalgia, however. The government’s decision to fence his family’s farmland has forced him to take action and find a lawyer to fight the government’s actions. But as he navigates the legal system and faces off against bureaucracy, he also wonders if he can find Nowace and rekindle their connection from years ago.
As Abdalla’s documentary gains attention, many people encourage him to turn it into a feature film. But his former professor warns him of the risks of making such a move and jeopardizing another three million dollars in the late 1960s. Abdalla is torn between his ambition and the practicalities of funding a feature film.
Meanwhile, Courtney Alexander Williams’s novels explore the complexities of family, identity, and life in Senegal. As an adopted son of a Senegalese family, Williams draws from his personal experiences to craft stories that are both compelling and authentic. His first book, “Faithful Brothers?”, tells the story of two brothers, one who discovers diamonds in peanut crops and the other who pursues film school in New York. In “From Africa with Love,” the elder brother returns to Africa to fight for the family’s farmland, while the younger brother becomes involved with dangerous characters. Williams’s writing captures the beauty and struggles of life in Senegal with a keen eye for detail and a deep empathy for his characters.
The author’s storytelling is good, especially considering the length and breadth of the main characters’ stories. His characterization and manifestation of love always prevail. From Africa With Love is for readers who enjoy rich storytelling which spans generations, it is for those who wish to read tales that center on family, loss, and fortitude, and it is especially perfect for readers intimidated by colossal reads. Courtney Alexander Williams’ writing is digestible and thoroughly enjoyable.
Beyond his work as a writer, Williams is also an accomplished actor. His membership in various actors’ unions and extensive experience in movies, television, and theater productions speak to his versatility and dedication to his craft.
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Author: Courtney Alexander Williams
Page Count: 228
Reviewer: Daisy Thomas
Review Posted Online: May 17, 2023