By Helene Cooper
Journalist Helene Cooper examines the violent prior of her domestic nation Liberia and the consequences of its 1980 army coup during this deeply own memoir and finalist for the 2008 nationwide publication Critics Circle Award.
Helene Cooper is “Congo,” a descendant of 2 Liberian dynasties—traced again to the 1st send of freemen that set sail from big apple in 1820 to stumbled on Monrovia. Helene grew up at Sugar seashore, a twenty-two-room mansion through the ocean. Her early life used to be choked with servants, flashy automobiles, a villa in Spain, and a farmhouse up-country. It used to be additionally an African adolescence, jam-packed with knock foot video games and scorching pepper soup, heartmen and neegee. whilst Helene was once 8, the Coopers took in a foster child—a universal customized one of the Liberian elite. Eunice, a Bassa woman, abruptly grew to become often called “Mrs. Cooper’s daughter.”
For years the Cooper daughters—Helene, her sister Marlene, and Eunice—blissfully loved the trimmings of wealth and virtue. yet Liberia was once like an unwatched pot of water left boiling at the range. And on April 12, 1980, a bunch of infantrymen staged a coup d'état, assassinating President William Tolbert and executing his cupboard. The Coopers and the total Congo category have been now the hunted, being imprisoned, shot, tortured, and raped. After a brutal sunlight assault by way of a ragtag group of infantrymen, Helene, Marlene, and their mom fled Sugar seashore, after which Liberia, for the United States. They left Eunice behind.
A international away, Helene attempted to assimilate as an American teen. on the collage of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she came across her ardour in journalism, ultimately changing into a reporter for the Wall highway Journal and the New York Times. She mentioned from the whole lot of the globe—except Africa—as Liberia descended into war-torn, third-world hell.
In 2003, a near-death adventure in Iraq confident Helene that Liberia—and Eunice—could wait not. instantaneously a deeply own memoir and an exam of a violent and stratified nation, The condominium at Sugar Beach tells of tragedy, forgiveness, and transcendence with unflinching honesty and a survivor's light humor. And at its middle, it's a tale of Helene Cooper’s lengthy voyage domestic.