Author(s): Ginny Baily
Adele is in a mess. On her own with her young son, struggling to cope with her job as a teacher, and stuck in a disastrous - and dangerous - affair, her life is unravelling. The sharp contrasts and certainties she experienced during the years she spent as a child in far-off Senegal have faded to a distant blur. Then, one night, when she looks in the bathroom mirror, she sees the face of Ellena, a girl she knew in those carefree days, staring back at her from the glass. As the daughter of a nightwatchman in exile from the brutal conflict in Liberia, Ellena's childhood was far from the idyll of Adele's memories. Her mysterious appearance sets in motion a chain of events that takes Adele back to Africa, in the hope that she can make amends for a heartless act that broke the girls' friendship and damaged Ellena's family irrevocably. "Africa Junction" artfully interweaves the stories of dramatically different lives and experiences - a Senegalese boy setting sail for Europe, a Welsh teenager running from Timbuktu, a young girl escaping from a life of slave-labour in Mali - but at its heart is Adele and her quest. From the rain-drenched streets of Britain to the sun-baked reds and yellows of Senegal and the violence of Liberia's civil war, "Africa Junction" follows one woman's attempt to draw the threads of her life together. Out of the quagmire of violence and hardship there emerges a tentative vision of common humanity and, ultimately, the possibility both of redemption and of love.
A brilliantly constructed first novel following a young woman's quest for redemption set against the kaleidoscopic backdrop of modern Africa.
Ginny Baily was born in Halifax in Yorkshire, grew up in Cardiff and now lives in Devon. She has taught English as a Foreign Language, Italian and French, has lived and worked in both France and Italy and has long worked on the Africa Research Bulletin - a monthly journal of African affairs. She is also the co-founder and co-editor of Riptide, a journal which has the aim of championing the short story. She has won various prizes for her poetry and short stories. Africa Junction is her first novel. She has two sons and lives in Exeter.