The Memory of Love

Aminatta Forna

The Memory of Love

Adrian Lockheart is a psychologist escaping his life in England. Arriving in Freetown in the wake of civil war, he struggles with the intensity of the heat, dirt and dust, and with the secrets this country hides. Despite the gulf of experience and understanding between them, Adrian finds unexpected friendship in a young surgeon at the hospital, the charismatic Kai Mansaray, and begins to build a new life just as Kai makes plans to leave. In the hospital Adrian encounters an elderly and unwell man, Elias Cole, who is reflecting on his past, not all of it noble. Recorded in a series of notebooks are memories of his youth, the optimism of the first moon landings, and the details of an obsession: Saffia, a woman he loved, and Julius, her fiery, rebellious husband. As their individual stories entwine across two generations in a country torn apart by repression and war, some distances cannot be bridged... 4.4 out of 5 based on 8 reviews
The Memory of Love

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 464
RRP £17.99
Date of Publication April 2010
ISBN 978-1408808139
Publisher Bloomsbury
 

Adrian Lockheart is a psychologist escaping his life in England. Arriving in Freetown in the wake of civil war, he struggles with the intensity of the heat, dirt and dust, and with the secrets this country hides. Despite the gulf of experience and understanding between them, Adrian finds unexpected friendship in a young surgeon at the hospital, the charismatic Kai Mansaray, and begins to build a new life just as Kai makes plans to leave. In the hospital Adrian encounters an elderly and unwell man, Elias Cole, who is reflecting on his past, not all of it noble. Recorded in a series of notebooks are memories of his youth, the optimism of the first moon landings, and the details of an obsession: Saffia, a woman he loved, and Julius, her fiery, rebellious husband. As their individual stories entwine across two generations in a country torn apart by repression and war, some distances cannot be bridged...

Reviews

The Guardian

Helon Habila

Brilliant… Forna's writing is not lyrical; you feel that what she is reaching for is economy of phrasing, aptness of imagery, exactness of description, and she achieves that perfectly. This is a remarkable novel: well researched, well thought out, well written – the kind that deserves to be on the Booker shortlist.

08/05/2010

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The Spectator

Michela Wrong

Magnificent… She also has a real gift for natural description, and one of the delights of this book is the tangible sense it offers of one of Africa’s most beautiful countries, where the wild orchids, rolling surf and bobbing sandpipers serve as constant mockery of human confusion.

05/05/2010

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The Times

Sam Kiley

[Her characters] are so well drawn, and so universally authentic, that each time the narrative view switches from one to the other one almost longs for a convenient twodimensional caricature as light relief from possession… Let us hope [this book] takes its place where it deserves to be: not at the top of the pile of “African Literature” but outside any category altogether — and at the top of award shortlists.

20/03/2010

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Times Literary Supplement

Anjali Joseph

Extraordinary… The novel is based on historical research but its stories – of Sierra Leone’s civil war, of the sufferings of its survivors, and of love’s more routine betrayals and acts of generosity – are treated with subtlety so that to read The Memory of Love is to experience, not simply learn about, the inner existences of its characters, even as they lapse in and out of their lives.

30/04/2010

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The Daily Telegraph

Jane Shilling

If one were searching for criticisms, one might argue that Forna’s plot, with its individual stories, at first apparently quite separate and random, but meshing as neatly as cogs in a machine as her denouement approaches, has something too much of artifice – almost mechanical – about it. But that might be to misunderstand her intention. Beneath the fluent naturalism of her writing, she has a great interest in myth and in the tribal narratives of humanity: the stories rubbed smooth at the edges with retelling. If there is something as neat as fairy story about her plot, it is not by accident... [An] affecting, passionate and intelligent novel

27/03/2010

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The Daily Mail

Stephanie Cross

Aminatta Forna's novel is intelligent, engrossing and beautifully crafted.

09/04/2010

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The Observer

Tim Adams

...she captures exactly the sense of numbed brutalisation that I saw first-hand in many places [in Sierra Leone]... an ambitious and deeply researched novel

18/04/2010

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The Sunday Times

Lucy Atkins

...although sometimes the coincidences seem distinctly unlikely, they somehow work. This is a slow novel that occasionally feels as if Forna could have pared things back a little. But then, the steady pace makes the awful revelations all the more disturbing.

18/04/2010

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