Listen free for 30 days

The Memory of Love

Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Length: 20 hrs and 24 mins
4 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

A poignant story about friendship, betrayal, obsession and second chances – this novel is an immensely powerful portrayal of human resilience.

Sierra Leone: civil war has left an entire population with terrible secrets to keep. In the capital's hospital Kai, a gifted young surgeon, is plagued by demons. Elsewhere in the hospital lies Elias Cole, a university professor who recalls the love that drove him to acts that are far from heroic. As past and present intersect, Kai and Elias are drawn unwittingly closer and into the path of one woman at the centre of their stories.

©2010 Aminatta Forna (P)2011 W F Howes Ltd
What members say
Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    65
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    5
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    64
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interwoven lives in conflict-affected Sierra Leone

This is a wonderful book which examines the interwoven lives and loves of a handful of people in conflict-affected Sierra Leone. It explores the stories of a Sierra Leonian academic and political scientist who is incarcerated, threatened and broken; a Sierra Leonian surgeon whose personal experiences and helplessness during the war have left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and a desire ultimately to leave his homeland; and an English psychologist working in the country with patients with mental health problems, who questions and is questioned, about his own motives and ability to contribute. The women in their lives are less to the fore but present a powerful backdrop of interconnected resilience despite adversity. They too are tragically often defeated by the overwhelming brutality of war and the lack of resources in such a poor post-conflict country. The language is beautiful and the different perspectives and perceptions come through strongly. The book powerfully offers insights to Sierra Leone, the politics, the war and conflict, the challenges, the strengths and, perhaps to a lesser extent, the underlying hope...

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning

Beautifully written, thoughtful, sensitive, captivating and thought provoking. I rarely write reviews, but I was so moved by Aminatta Forna's writing style, that I really wanted to share it with others. A wonderfully special find, could not recommend it strongly enough.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Depressing

Sad and depressing book. Wish I hadn't listened to it. Good narrator but a tragic story

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Strange pace and unnecessary detail obscured plot.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?


Would you be willing to try another one of Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s performances?

I would be reluctant. I often had to rewind the audiobook as the character perspective had changed -without obvious indication by the narrator- mid way through an important event which was being intricately described. Also I found the voice of Adrian too whiny, and not well suited to my idea of the character.

Any additional comments?

I found it hard to connect to any of the characters, which I was surprised by, given that some of the issues dealt with were a little close to home. Often there was a build up to a key event, where you thought you were about to understand the motives and feelings of the characters, only for a sudden change in time or perspective to spin your thoughts off into a different direction.

The best parts of the book were those which explored the differing reactions, both among the natives of Sierra Leone and of the various outsiders, to the war and conflict described. The changes in Adrian's feeling about the country and the people were a good way of conveying this.

The plot is not a bad one, but the roundabout way it is conveyed and the stop-start nature of the writing is not to my personal taste. For me the continual references to birds were too vague to be an obvious literary device (unless I am missing something) and too obscure to benefit the plot in any way. Also, perhaps I am over sensitive but I though the forthright descriptions of the processes of urination, masturbation, vomiting etc. were unnecessary.

I would point out that I still think the book was a worthwhile read as it provoked thoughts and considerations about conflict and human nature that I may not otherwise have come across, even if I do not fully agree with all the ideas the writer conveys.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful, engaging and thought-provoking

This is a novel with many levels, and all of them hugely fulfilling. Beautifully narrated, wonderfully drawn characters with such human imperfections, it's easy to put at the top of my 'must download' list. I actually wonder whether the text version would be as rewarding as this audiobook.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Worth it!

I started off just enjoying this book, but it grew and grew into a wonderful story. I wouldn't say the plot twists and turns, but linkages between different strands of the story are gradually revealed until it becomes a complex and rich whole. The narrator is amazing - performs a wide array of natural sounding voices. My only criticism is that he makes the english character sound a bit gormless at the beginning, but either I came to terms with his voice or it became better as the book went on.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Moving and thoughtful - a must listen

A cleverly woven narrative, including some traumatic and shocking imagery. Deeply sad and sombre, but ultimately uplifting. Recommended. The narrator does a great job- although some of the character's voices are a little jarring.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking, interesting & wonderfully read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Harrowing, moving, beautifully written. The narrator makes the experience even more enjoyable. It is hard to believe that all those voices came from one man! i found the voices matched the characters personality. The strength of individuals following personal and national trauma shines through. It was interesting to think about the personal motives of those going to help in countries recovering from war.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Glad I tried it

Not my usual read but glad I did it's a wonderful story of love and war loyalty and treachery although I did get a little confused when it goes back and forward in time

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

slow start, bear with it it's very worthwhile

took a bit of time for me to get into it but you really get to know the people and can imagine the background and circumstances that make this story.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for EssieE
  • EssieE
  • 29-03-20

Love in The Time of War

Aminatta Forna's Memories of Love surprises as the story is told through the life and love of Elias Cole. This is a story of love, admiration, unbridled passions, amidst the hopes, lust for life, power and the national pride of a post colonial African nation. A story of wishes, of great hopes, set against struggles for power and control, and a civil war that leaves behind losses of  lives, mind, dignity, of a people and a nation, of all that had been normal. 

This is story of betrayals, survival, absolution and redemption; of love intertwined with tragedy - survival where minds and souls are lost, traumatized, and destroyed whilst trying to grasp at what is true, honorable, and lasting. 

A story of the best and the worst in a nation facing a struggle for redemption, to right past wrongs, to move forward as a nation and a people becoming.

Love is the challenge, the motivator, the betrayer, and the betrayed. These are its memories. 

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Abby Mamacos
  • Abby Mamacos
  • 21-07-15

Outstanding narrator

Captures a diverse set of accents superbly. I bought this book months ago and just couldn't get into it. Then, I couldn't stop listening. It is historical fiction but it is such recent history that it blows your mind away to know what people still have to endure. Brilliant!