Author: Amma Darko
Publishers: Sub-Saharan Publishers
Amma Darko's Faceless tackles a society's neglect of its future leaders, the irresponsibility of fathers, the importance of the media in solving problems and the importance of determination in our lives. It blatantly portrays how a larger 'section' of the society is living and dealing with life as if there is no one looking after them. So difficult is life to such individuals that what to eat is as problematic as where to ease; what to wear and where to sleep and even waking up to the morning sun are seen as miracles. It clearly shows the effect of streetism on the society and how decayed and corrupt society has become. The axiom that 'each one for himself God for us all' can clearly summarise the content of this novel, and to some extent, without taking anything from the author, can act as its second title.
Fofo was forced out from home by her mother, Maa Tsuru, to fend for herself and to allow her mother raise her younger sister Baby T. However, later Baby T was also given away to to fend for herself in one of the most difficult slums in Ghana, Agbogbloshie. Baby T gets brutally murdered and all fingers point to Poison. Besides, her elder sister, Fofo, was almost raped and later beaten by Poison to prevent her from divulging any information to MUTE, a group of four women dedicated to the idea of providing what they refer to as 'alternate' library which would act as a respository of local knowledge not found in everyday books. Poison, the boss of the streets, cowed all the kayayos (head-porters) from disclosing the identity of the Baby T, yet the real person responsible for Baby T's death is one of society's innocent.
Amma Darko's display of tradition becomes clear in this novel also. According Maa Tsuru she has been cursed and it is this curse that has rendered her useless, poor, crippled and husbandless. She has become an outcast in the family house and always lives indoors crying. Faceless is one woman's account of life on the streets of Accra: the struggle, the peril, the survival, the near-death experiences, the deaths and the births. However, behind all these problems, all these complex issues, Amma Darko finds ways to inject humour into her prose, such as Kabria thinking that her son wanted to say Lord the King, when he asked for Lord Kenya's album.
The writing is simple and brilliant; the diction, good. One need not carry a dictionary or a thesaurus. The simplicity of her writing is similar to that of J.K. Rowling. To me, Amma Darko has arrived and one needs to pay her more attention. This book serve as the basis for her latest novel Not Without Flowers. If you want to read Amma Darko, start from Faceless and you would never regret it. For those who are passionate about child delinquency, societal decadence, survival mechanisms, this book, and in fact all of Amma Darko's books, is for you.