The Memory of Love Paperback – 7 Mar 2011
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'A writer of great talent and courage' (Monica Ali)
'An intricate tapestry of betrayal, tragedy and loss ... an affecting, passionate and intelligent novel about the redemptive power of love and storytelling' (Daily Telegraph)
'Let us hope that it 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' (The Times)
'Intelligent, engrossing and beautifully crafted' (Daily Mail)
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The earlier era features Julius Kamara and Elias Cole who are both lecturers at the same University. Whereas Julius is charismatic,politically motivated and an idealist, Elias Cole is traditional, politically disengaged, and possessed with only mediocre talent.These two characters have only one thing in common; their love for Saffia.
Julius' life and fate is dictated by his political ambitions and that of Elias by his infatuation with Saffia.
Move forward 30 years and Adrian a disenchanted Psychologist from London takes advantage of an overseas government sponsored post in Sierra Leone to research Post Traumatic Stress disorder. However, underpinning his decision to take up this post, is his need to escape from a stagnating marriage and to discover what he really wants out of life.He befriends Kai Mansaray a dedicated and accomplished young trauma surgeon who works tirelessly at the city hospital.
Like so many other victims of the civil war, Kai too is suffering from PTSD played out as recurrent nightmares and insomnia. Young hopes,plans and romances are destroyed and by a sad twist of fate work to Adrian's advantage.
Adrian is the centre point of the story which oscillates between the city hospital where Elias Cole, now terminally ill, talks through his earlier life at the university in an attempt to seek absolution, and the local mental asylum.Read more ›
As the novel opens, Elias Cole, a former professor and Dean of the university in Freetown, is now an elderly hospital patient, dying a slow disease which robs him of his breath. There, he is a patient of Adrian Lockheart, a British psychiatrist who has left his wife and daughter behind in England while he works for six months in the hospital near the university. Adrian quickly discovers that the dying Elias has memories that he is impelled to share about his life in the 1970s, many of these involving Saffia, the wife of Julius Kamara, a young professor. Old-fashioned story-telling conveys episodes from Elias's memories of his much younger life, and the author emphasizes from the beginning that it is with these three characters that the entire story really begins--Elias Cole, Julius Kamara, and Saffia.
A parallel narrative, with different main characters, takes place sometime around 2001, near the end of the war, with flashbacks to events of the late 1990s.Read more ›
It begins with Elias Cole as he suffers a slow painful death, haunted by memories of his obsessive love for Safia, the lovely wife of a charismatic colleague. Driven by the apparent desire to make some death-bed confession, but on his own terms, his calculating and manipulative personality is revealed.
Then there is Adrian, the introspective British psychiatrist with some vague urge to do good in a developing country struggling to recover from its shattered state. In fact, he is escaping from his marriage, for reasons that remain unclear. His affair with the beautiful Mamakay, who makes a sudden appearance well into the book, does not entirely convince me, and the guilt he feels for abandoning his wife and daughter is insufficiently explored.
Thirdly we have Kai, the young doctor traumatised by the horrors of the war, his nightmares alternating with nostalgic memories of his girlfriend Nenubah, whom I imagined for a long time to have perished tragically in the fighting. Kai makes the decision to emigrate to the States, lured by the encouragement of his best friend Tejani, but it is unlikely that he would do this without worrying more about the fate of Abass , the young nephew for whom he acts as a father. I also found the graphic descriptions of Kai conducting operations unnecessary - they serve only to give the author an opportunity to show off medical knowledge gained to give the book an authentic touch.
Forna creates a vivid impression of the scenery and way of life in Sierra Leone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a beautiful book about the harm that can be caused by desire. It is a fascinating introduction to Sierra Leone, as well as simply a well-written story.Published 4 months ago by Stegosaurus
Interesting subject but hard going. It promised more than it delivered but well writtenPublished 5 months ago by KatieJane0774
The Memory of Love tackles how people overcome the brutalities of war and the trauma which follows. It is a tale of love , of loss and of regret. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Beck
Interesting read! Not too much psychobabble but interesting build up.. Very good writer!Published 6 months ago by ElleP
Amazing. .. It was very slow but captured my attention from the beginning. The sadness is so raw I found myself transfixed like I was there... Read morePublished 10 months ago by lisa west