Ghanaian author Ama Darko’s Beyond the Horizon is tremendously insightful. At 140 pages, the book published by Heinemann in 1995 is a short and easy read.
Mara is a young woman who travels from the village to the city and then finally ends up in Munich, Germany. It is her father who gives her away to marriage to the son of the village undertaker in exchange for “two white cows, four healthy goats, four lengths of cloth, beads, gold jewelry and two bottles of London Dry Gin”. Mara’s husband is Akobi and it is he who takes her to the city. Later Akobi gets a visa to Europe and leaves for Germany, where he later asks Mara to join him. In Europe, Mara’s life takes an unexpected turn.
Personally, I was disturbed by the outmoded practice, whereby parents give their daughters away to marriage without their consent. And as Darko’s Beyond the Horizon shows, one cannot anticipate the many ‘what ifs’ of such practices – what if the husband turns out to be of a bad character, what if the husband is an abusive one, what if the man is a drunkard, what if… (The list goes on and on).
I also found this book to be a heart pouring one from the side of Mara and more so from the perspective of the first person narrative. This book gives a good insight into the African immigrant experience in Europe. This is a gloom, dark and disturbing book. By the end of the book, I had to sympathize with Mara. I recommend this book to all and sundry.