Thursday, April 24, 2014
Title: The Memory of Love
By: Aminatta Forna
This is a gripping novel concerned with the residual damage to society and individuals following the 1991-2002 civil war in Sierra Leone. Three love stories are interwoven throughout the book, and these narratives become the device through which we learn much else about what has happened. Aminatta Forna’s characters are developed with lovely care; they have all too human defects as well as beautiful traits. Interestingly, Forna writes from the point of view of the men, rather than the women in this novel. But the women are the key focus.
The author’s insight into the fundamental inability of foreign aid workers to grasp what is really going on within the society they are visiting adds further depth. The tone is ironic at times; compelling, sorrowful, and tragic. The characters struggle with issues of commitment, personal integrity, and post traumatic stress.
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith does a great job with the voices of African and British characters. He’s not as perfectly convincing with some of the European accents but the emotional tone is always authentic even when the accent isn’t. His voices are markedly different from one character to the next, demonstrating an astonishing range of timbre and intonation. His is a voice I will listen to again with pleasure.