Helon Habila reviews The Memory of Love, Aminatta Forna's new novel about four characters trying to cope with the psychological aftermath of the war in Sierra Leone - in today's UK Guardian Review.
Forna writes like a scientist, not only in the accuracy of her descriptions but in the way she selects which incidents to highlight, turning each scene into a metaphor that reverberates with meaning beyond the event itself. One character can't walk, and the doctors are carefully breaking his legs and putting them back together to help him do so. This procedure becomes a symbol for the nation, determined to regain the use of its legs after the crippling civil war.
Forna's writing is not lyrical; you feel that what she is reaching for is economy of phrasing, aptness of imagery, exactness of description, and she achieves that perfectly. This is a remarkable novel: well researched, well thought out, well written – the kind that deserves to be on the Booker shortlist.
And we're told Helon Habila himself should be out with a new novel, 'Oil On Water', later this year.
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