Jessica George’s debut novel, Maame (10 hours), explores the complexities of immigrant families through the story of Maddie, who lives in London with her Ghanaian family and seeks to balance responsibility and self-discovery. Maddie is her father’s primary caretaker while her mother spends most of the year in Ghana. At work, Maddie deals with an impossible boss and an environment where she is consistently the only Black person in the room.
Maame grapples with cultural contradictions, familial expectations, xenophobia and racism while exploring the power to be found in kinship and pleasure. In the audiobook, George’s delightfully delicate command of language is enlivened by visual artist and actor Heather Agyepong’s brilliant narration, which brings the characters to life with nuanced voices that reveal not only variations in Ghanaian and British accents but also emotional worlds. Agyepong animates the distance and desire for closeness in these relationships, allowing listeners to feel the full scope of familial bonds in diaspora.
Together, George’s words and Agyepong’s voice encourage listeners to approach Maame with openness, and as they melt into this complicated world, they will discover a riveting story.