Baingana was a lost soul, wandering through life, unsure of himself and his place in the world. Whatever could go wrong in his life seemed to have gone wrong; he’d lost his job, his parents were furious with him, his friends seemed superficial and self-centred and his girlfriend, Zoe, had broken up with him. To Baingana it seemed that life truly had it in for him and he decided the only solution was to run away to his best friend Besim’s town and try and start anew. In Dancing with Sophia by Ramalho Almeida, the author takes Baingana, along with us fortunate readers on a journey that will forever change his attitude and his view of life, humanity and his place in the world.
I love it when an author weaves a personal philosophy into a fictional tale and that is exactly what Almeida has done with Dancing with Sophia. Whether you accept or believe the philosophy is irrelevant, it is the journey that is important and the examination of Baingana’s motives and views. What the author has done beautifully in this book is to entwine a philosophy that appears to have some of its roots in the Law of Attraction into a mystical journey through several stages, where Baingana meets first the old man Abner, the child, Inesa and finally the young woman Sophia. At each level, he learns and understands more about himself and his relationship to the rest of humanity, until finally, he is ready for the ultimate experience – to dance with Sophia. This book is beautifully written and perhaps the best part of all is the ten wonderful poems that underscore the prose throughout the story. I loved this story and the way Almeida told it. I highly recommend this book. If you liked the Life of Pi, you’ll love Dancing with Sophia.