In 1837, two young African princes arrive at the court of Willem I in the Netherlands. They have been given to the Dutch by the King of the Ashanti as surety in a deal over illegal slave trading. The two boys think they have been sent to acquire a European education, but time passes. They forget their native language and become exiles. Treated as curiosities by white people, their friendship suffers and their paths diverge. Years later, as the twentieth century dawns, the elderly Kwasi, now owner of a coffee plantation in Java, sits down to write his autobiography. Based on a true story, The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi is both a brilliant piece of storytelling and a moving portrayal of the search for identity and belonging.
Beautifully crafted and spellbinding
A bravura rendering of historical detail... Japin's greatest accomplishment is the narrator's tone in which the voice of an embittered old man merges with that of a perceptive but scared and betrayed child
An elegant and ultimately moving fictional reworking of another troubling chapter of Europeans in Africa and Africans in Europe
Mesmerising... Like Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, Japin's ventriloquism is virtually flawless
A deeply humane book about a spectacularly exotic subject