The Memory of Love

Aminatta Forna, Grove, $25 (496p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1965-0
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. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 09/06/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-0099-7
Hardcover - 445 pages - 978-1-4088-0813-9
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-4088-0424-7
Open Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4088-1832-9
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-0-8021-4568-0
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