the memory of love//aminatta forna


eish. it seems the lovely lola shoneyin, author of the secret lives of baba segi's wives, has not made the orange prize shortlist. :( as disappointed as i am, still gaining inspiration and courage from sierra leonean aminatta forna's the memory of love--competing against a smattering irish-, british-, american- and canadian-authored works for this most prestigious award.

though clearly biased, i truly believe that african writers--primarily african women writers--will inherit the earth. i have my own stake in this, of course; though equally humbled, inspired, and emboldened by the work of so many others. i am particularly fond of those who deal with this slippery matter of love. i study them well.

it seemed appropriate to post a small excerpt from the memory of love below. it's brilliant. you can read the entire first chapter here. and find out more about the book and author here. --AL.

"I heard a song, a morning as I walked to college. It came to me across the radio playing on a stall I passed. A song from far away, about a lost love. At least so I imagined, I didn’t understand the words, only the melody. But in the low notes I could hear the loss this man had suffered. And in the high notes I understood too that it was a song about something that could never be. I had not wept in years. But I did, there and then, on the side of a dusty street, surrounded by strangers. The melody stayed with me for years.

This is how it is when you glimpse a woman for the first time, a woman you know you could love. People are wrong when they talk of love at first sight. It is neither love nor lust. No. As she walks away from you, what you feel is loss. A premonition of loss."

-- from Aminatta Forna's The Memory of Love

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