“[A] luminous tale of passion and betrayal” set in the post-colonial and civil war eras of Sierra Leone (The New York Times).
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book
As a decade of civil war and political unrest comes to a devastating close, three men must reconcile themselves to their own fate and the fate of their broken nation. For Elias Cole, this means reflecting on his time as a young scholar in 1969 and the affair that defined his life. For Adrian Lockheart, it means listening to Elias’s tale and following his own heart into a heated romance. For Elias’s doctor, Kai Mansaray, it’s desperately battling his nightmares by trying to heal his patients.
As each man’s story becomes inexorably bound with the others’, they discover that they are connected not only by their shared heritage, pain, and shame, but also by one remarkable woman.
The Memory of Love is a beautiful and ambitious exploration of the influence history can have on generations, and the shared cultural burdens that each of us inevitably face.
“A soft-spoken story of brutality and endurance set in postwar Sierra Leone . . . Tragedy and its aftermath are affectingly, memorably evoked in this multistranded narrative from a significant talent.” —Kirkus Reviews
Forma, recipient of a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Ancestor Stones, returns to Africa's troubled conscience in this admirable if uneven outing. Adrian Lockheart is a well-meaning English psychologist who embarks on a temporary post at a Sierra Leone hospital intending to modernize treatment of the long-neglected schizophrenics, transients, and scarred victims of civil war who walk the hospital grounds. He soon meets his match in the elderly ex-professor Elias Cole, who speaks eloquently of his country's turbulent history and also of his passion for the wife of a more radically minded colleague whose eventual disappearance Cole may be implicated in. As the holes in Elias's story widen, Adrian falls for a patient's daughter and into conflict with a surgeon, and ripples from the unexamined past threaten the present. Yet Forma's material doesn't measure up to the book's length. The book's prolixity, combined with scenes that drag or come off as forced, certainly doesn't ruin the experience, but it does occasionally glut what amounts to a heartening cry for moral responsibility in the thick of maddening injustice.