Lead Review (Ada’s Realm)

  • Book: Ada’s Realm
  • Location: Germany, Ghana, London
  • Author: Jon Cho-Polizzi (translator), Sharon Dodua Otoo

Review Author: Tina Hartas




This is a well written novel that examines the lives of women called Ada, One might suppose they are each reincarnations of the first, manifestations of womanhood in different times and places. Whatever the interpretation these are the stories of the universality of womanhood in a variety of eras, set mainly from Totope to Nordhausen to Berlin.

It moves between the Ada manifestations, underlining the roles, functions and place in society and what different societies and cultures demand of the female sex. There are universalities of family and friendship, tempered with racism and misogyny/patriarchy, health, well-being and nurture. And ultimately simple survival. There is humour, too.

Did it work for me? I found the stories of each Ada quite mesmerising but at times perfunctorily explored before the next story rolled around into to focus, picking up the threads, diving in and then coming up for air, moving on to the next incarnation.

The latter part of the book demanded some kind of dovetailing, a rounding off but I felt it never really came together, and left me feeling a little high and dry. I could certainly intellectually see the construct, good writing and themes but neither they, nor the Adas really got under my skin.

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