Yoruba Girl Dancing

Simi Bedford, Author
Simi Bedford, Author Viking Books $19 (192p) ISBN 978-0-670-84045-8
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 184 pages - 978-0-14-023293-6
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-7493-1065-3
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A semiautobiographical first novel about a Nigerian girl's adjustment to life at an English boarding school, this is an affecting and mordant appraisal of British social mores of the '50s. Remi is six when she is deposited at the upper-crust Chilcott Manor School (where the uniform tunic is ``nigger brown''). There, the former darling of a close-knit and aristocratic Lagos family must endure the scrutiny and derision of her classmates, one of whom spreads the word that ``the black rubs off.'' Tracing Remi's adaptions to life among the British while she maintains the inevitable distance of the outsider, Bedford establishes a simultaneously wistful and cynical piquancy. Even when Remi seems to have fully assimilated, she is asked to dance by a young man who adds, ``Are you considered attractive in your own country?'' Bedford, a native of Nigeria who moved to Britain as a child and now lives in London, has written a wise and provocative book that might even prompt some soul-searching in the social circles she has skewered. (Oct.)
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