Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Memory Of Love by Aminatta Forna

The Memory Of Love by Aminatta Forna
Published by Bloomsbury in December 2010. Winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book Award, shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011, the IMPAC 2012 and the 2011 Warwick Prize.

One of my Top Ten Books of 2016.

Where to buy this book:
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How I got this book:
Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'Freetown, Sierra Leone, 1969. On a hot January evening that he will remember for decades, Elias Cole first catches sight of Saffia Kamara, the wife of a charismatic colleague. He is transfixed. Thirty years later, lying in the capital's hospital, he recalls the desire that drove him to acts of betrayal he has tried to justify ever since. Elsewhere in the hospital, Kai, a gifted young surgeon, is desperately trying to forget the pain of a lost love that torments him as much as the mental scars he still bears from the civil war that has left an entire people with terrible secrets to keep. It falls to a British psychologist, Adrian Lockheart, to help the two survivors, but when he too falls in love, past and present collide with devastating consequences. The Memory of Love is a heartbreaking story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.'

The Memory Of Love was one of those books that swept me away from start to finish and I loved every minute of reading it. It is a sensitive and romantic novel which switches seamlessly from the 1960s to the present day telling a dual timeline story of Sierra Leone before and after The War. What is most distressing is the bland, matter-of-fact way horrific attacks and injuries are presented to the reader, these events having become normality to the country's population and, at the same time, completely alien to the Western aid workers flooding in to help. This gap in understanding is beautifully portrayed throughout the book. Although The Memory Of Love is quite a long book by my usual standards - at 445 pages - I never once felt myself losing interest or concentration. The characters are wonderfully nuanced and, for better and worse, completely believable as they struggle to survive through extraordinary circumstances. I think this is an amazing piece of writing.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Aminatta Forna / Contemporary fiction / Books from Sierra Leone

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