Favorite Quotes

"For my totem, the alley cat. We share the situation of small predators who easily become prey. I have my equivalent of claws and teeth, and indeed my arched back and loud hiss are my best defenses. When I need to hide my size and weakness, I can look fiercer than I am, but when I cannot talk or threaten or argue my way out of trouble, then I am in a lot of trouble. We are scavengers in the alleys and streets of a society we do not control and scarcely influence. We survive and perish both by taking lovers. Freedom is a daily necessity like water, and we love most loyally and longest those who allow us at least occasionally to vanish and wander the curious night. To them we always return from the eight deaths before the last."

from Braided Lives by Marge Piercy

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Collateral damage

The Memory of Love

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.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction, audiobook

Posted by April on April 24, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.


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