The Memory of Love

The Memory of Love

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
While a gifted young surgeon is haunted by memories of the civil war that has decimated his Sierra Leone home, a patient relates disturbing stories about the post-colonial years and a well-intentioned British psychiatrist draws all of them into the path of an enigmatic woman. By the award-wining author of Ancestor Stones.

Perseus Publishing
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book
Finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction
An Essence Book Club Pick

In contemporary Sierra Leone, a devastating civil war has left an entire populace with secrets to keep. In the capital hospital, a gifted young surgeon is plagued by demons that are beginning to threaten his livelihood. Elsewhere in the hospital lies a dying man who was young during the country’s turbulent postcolonial years and has stories to tell that are far from heroic. As past and present intersect in the buzzing city, these men are drawn unwittingly closer by a British psychologist with good intentions, and into the path of one woman at the center of their stories. A work of breathtaking writing and rare wisdom,The Memory of Love seamlessly weaves together two generations of African life to create a story of loss, absolution, and the indelible effects of the pastand, in the end, the very nature of love.

[A] luminous tale of passion and betrayal.”Maaza Mengiste, The New York Times Book Review

& Taylor

While a gifted young surgeon is haunted by memories of the civil war that has decimated his Sierra Leone home, a patient relates disturbing stories about the post-colonial years and a well-intentioned British psychologist draws all of them into the path of an enigmatic woman.

Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press ; [Berkeley, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2011
ISBN: 9780802119650
Characteristics: 445 p. ; 24 cm


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Sep 04, 2016

This book is too long. It could be divided in two, even, in three books.
Author is trying not to give any political statement, she doesn’t take sides, but you can feel a sentiment – first, western world is provoking wars and disasters, and then, they send help to restore broken countries.
I felt some kind of assertion from the author that African women are more authentic comparing to westerners, in the way of being and behaving, without pretence of false modesty. But, maybe, an authenticity of white woman is exactly in how they behave, not necessary the same way as African women.
“There is no place like home” – is a leitmotif of the book. No matter how bad is a situation at home?
It emphasizes the feeling of uselessness of foreign assistance in the form of various international organizations, religious institutions, and even medical care. This feeling causes irritation among the local population. The controversial view of things, in my opinion. The main fault lies within the rotten by corruption local governments that do not care about their own people.
Thanks to this book, I decided to get more information about the conflict in Sierra Leone.
What a mess!
What indescribable cruelty to his own.
At the same time a few nice surprises: erudition, knowledge of world history by educated local population. Many westerners not even know where Sierra Leone is.
I did not like the advocacy for psychological help to people with war-torn psyche, who, with pleasure, during the conflict, cut, burned, killed, raped his own people.
Not clear why Kai and Nenebah broken up their relations.
Despite all the efforts of the author to create a unique image of Nenebah-I do not particularly like this character.
Cold, too self-confident, unwavering in the rightness of their own opinion and irresistible lure.

Jul 15, 2013

This was an engaging story weaving the lives of people together, showing their complexities. It is not a sentimental view, but one drawn from the writer's experience of having lived through civil war and her fathers imprisonment (see memoir). After reading the memoir first, it impressed on me in a very moving and thoughtful way, the various ways that people cope under such oppression.

May 19, 2013

Beautiful storytelling, a slow build to a thoughtful, sad, brave ending. I loved the slow peeling away of each characters layers and stories, the unpredictability of the story. A profound insiders look at a country recovering from violence and war. Mostly though, you can feel the author's commitment to and love for her country, Sierra Leone.

May 01, 2012

Intersecting stories of a white psychologist from the UK who goes to Sierre Leone and a black surgeon in Sierre Leone. It addresses who goes to developing countries and who leaves them. It portrays the horrors of war in this country. A lasting metapor - the memory of love is like the pain in a lost limb.

Jun 01, 2011

This title is shortlisted for the 2011 Orange prize, and may very well win. For me, the writing was wonderful, but the storytelling was a bit bland considering the subject matter.

debwalker May 24, 2011

The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna just won the £10,000 (US$16,233) Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Judges praised Forna's book "for its risk taking, elegance and breadth. A poignant story about friendship, betrayal, obsession and second chances--the novel is an immensely powerful portrayal of human resilience."

Mar 23, 2011

Incredibly beautiful and heart-wrenching.


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