The Memory of Love is set in a nameless African country although it is a country that resembles Sierra Leone in many ways - it is a country that has been consumed by war and trauma and the effects that has left on its people are indelible. The book has three main characters (although a fourth character that connects these three could also be counted as "main") and is told in alternating chapters that are narrated by the different characters - this is done in a seamless way - you always know where you are as the reader in terms of the structure of the story.
Adrian Lockheart is an English psychologist who is running away from a life with his wife and child in the UK which he no longer feels connected to. He has arrived in Africa with a rather aimless goal of "doing good" - he is passionate and committed but to what exactly he is not sure. Through his work in the local hospital Adrian meets and becomes friends with a local surgeon, Kai Mansaray - another man deeply committed to his work but also using it as a way to escape from personal memories and pain. One of Adrian's patients is an elderly man, Elias Cole, dying of an incurable lung disease and wanting to talk to an empathic stranger about his past life and decisions he has made that still play on his conscience.
I can not praise this book and the impact it has on me as a reader highly enough. The themes of trauma, memory, love, betrayal and connection are portrayed so well and so passionately I felt as though I knew these characters inside and out. The impact of trauma on an individual, a family and a community is also a powerful part of this book - one that had me in tears at several places. If you have not read this book already I would certainly recommend that you do - it is a book that I will be passing on to all of my friends.