The Memory of Love

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 past and, in the end, the very nature of love.

Praise for The Memory of Love:

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

“Forna has achieved something . . . startling and impressive here. Here is a luminous tale of passion and betrayal. . . . At the core of this novel is the brave and beating heart, at once vulnerable and determined, unwilling to let go of all it has ever loved.”—Maaza Mengiste, New York Times Book Review

“A remarkable feat of storytelling. . . . [and] a thrilling story of friendship and betrayal.”—Karen Holt, Essence

“A sprawling, epic novel of love in Sierra Leone from Aminatta Forna, a rising literary star.”—Marie Claire

“[Forna is] among the most powerful of new voices from Africa. . . . A novel about the persistence of hope and the redemptive power of love.”—The Globe and Mail

“[An] elegantly rendered novel of loss and rehabilitation . . . [that] coalesces into an ambitious exploration of trauma and storytelling.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“The real pleasure of Forna’s storytelling is in her scrutiny of her characters’ inner lives and her ability to connect their choices to the moral dilemmas of a traumatized society.”—The New Yorker

“[Forna’s] visceral appreciation of her troubled country is evident on every page of The Memory of Love. So, too, is her probing intelligence—and her compassion.”—Brooke Allen,

“She threads her stories like music. . . . One is left hauntingly familiar with the distant and alien; not quite able to distinguish the emotional spirits of fiction from the scars of real experience.” —The Times (London)

“[A] wise, compassionate novel . . . A universal tale of love, of war’s power to cripple souls as it maims bodies, and of the triumphant human spirit, overcoming the forces that seek to crush it.”—Philip Caputo, author of Rumor of War, Acts of Faith and Crossers

“A poignant story about friendship, betrayal, obsession and second chances . . . Bold, deeply moving and accomplished, [Forna’s novel] confirms her place among the most talented writers in literature today.”—Commonwealth Writers’ Prize judges

“Often darkly funny, written with gritty realism and tenderness, The Memory of Love is a profoundly affecting work.”—Kiran Desai, winner of the Man Booker Prize for The Inheritance of Loss

“In careful, precise prose, Forna makes even the seemingly commonplace details meaningful. These particulars speak to overarching themes of human experience: devotion, betrayal, and resilience.”—Nora Dunne, The Christian Science Monitor

“A subtle and complex exploration, daring in depth and scope, of both the psyche of a war and the attractions which it holds for an outsider. Forna is a writer of great talent who does not shy from tackling the toughest questions about why humans do the things they do: from the smallest acts of betrayal to the greatest acts of love.”—Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane

“Brilliant . . . Forna . . . turn[s] each scene into a metaphor that reverberates with meaning beyond the event itself…This is a remarkable novel.”—Helon Habila, The Guardian (UK)

“The author’s visceral appreciation of her troubled country is evident on every page of The Memory of Love. So, too, is her probing intelligence—and her compassion.”— Brooke Allen, Barnes & Noble Review (online)

“A soft-spoken story of brutality and endurance . . . Forna’s insight, elegance and elegiac tone never falter. Tragedy and its aftermath are affectingly, memorably evoked in this multistranded narrative from a significant talent.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“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.” –Anjali Joseph, Times Literary Supplement (UK)

“Forna’s portrait of Sierra Leone—its citizens and the over-eager expatriates who pour in with good intentions—throbs with life.”—Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly

“Fate and tragedy intertwine in this stunning and powerful portrait of a country in the aftermath of a decade of civil war.”—Kristine Huntley, Booklist

“This is powerful and necessary reading.”—Karen Briggs, Shelf Awareness (online)

“Intelligent, engrossing and beautifully crafted.” —The Daily Mail (UK)

The Memory of Love is the most significant novel that I have read since Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence. . . . This is an extraordinary meditation on the capacity that men and women have to survive in the midst of the most overwhelming obstacles that war and all its attendant violence and degradation can throw in front of them. Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love is the first major novel of the new decade.”—Charles R. Larson, Counter Punch (online)

The Memory of Love is a beautifully crafted tale of life in Sierra Leone in the aftermath of the civil war. . . . A book . . . to savour and share.” —Stylist (UK)

Weight 0.620 kg

Aminatta Forna


Bloomsbury Publishing


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