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The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

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Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011.

Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 10 March 2011.

A heartbreaking story of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

It has to be said that some books set in strange places and unfamiliar cultures can be difficult to penetrate. They require a stretch of the imagination that is often hard to achieve. Sometimes, these books can even be confusing. You get lost.

This is not the case with 'The Memory of Love'. Very early on, the characters become deep and meaningful. The combined narratives - one in the first person, the other in the third - are easy to follow. You begin to care. And as the story develops across different time lines, you are pulled into the lives of the protagonists in such a way that you just have to read on. You have escaped, which is what literary fiction is all about. A compellingly readable literary novel.

If you like Aminatta Forna you might also like to read books by Monique Roffey, Christie Watson and Warren Fitzgerald.


The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

Freetown, Sierra Leone: a devastating civil war has left an entire populace with terrible secrets to keep. In the capital's hospital Kai, a gifted young surgeon is plagued by demons that are beginning to threaten his livelihood. Elsewhere in the hospital lies Elias Cole, a university professor who recalls the love that obsessed him and drove him to acts that are far from heroic. As past and present intersect, Kai and Elias are drawn unwittingly closer by Adrian, a British psychiatrist with good intentions, and into the path of one woman at the centre of their stories.


'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

About the Author

Aminatta Forna

Aminatta Forna was born in Scotland and raised in West Africa. Her first book, The Devil that Danced on the Water, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2003. Her novel Ancestor Stones was winner of the 2008 Hurston Wright Legacy Award, the Literaturpreis in Germany, was nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and selected by the Washington Post as one of the most important books of 2006. In 2007 Vanity Fair named Aminatta as one of Africa's most promising new writers. Aminatta has also written for magazines and newspapers, radio and television, and presented television documentaries on Africa's history and art. Aminatta Forna lives in London with her husband.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th March 2011


Aminatta Forna

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Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


464 pages


Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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