London. A fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. The distraction causes two pedestrians to collide--Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist there to deliver a keynote speech. From this chance encounter, Aminatta Forna's unerring powers of observation show how in the midst of the rush of a great city lie numerous moments of connection.Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma, as he has done many times before; and to contact the daughter of friends, his "niece" who hasn't called home in a while. Ama has been swept up in an immigration crackdown, and now her young son Tano is missing.When, by chance, Attila runs into Jean again, she mobilizes the network of rubbish men she uses as volunteer fox spotters. Security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens--mainly West African immigrants who work the myriad streets of London--come together to help. As the search for Tano continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.Meanwhile a consulting case causes Attila to question the impact of his own ideas on trauma, the values of the society he finds himself in, and a grief of his own. In this delicate tale of love and loss, of cruelty and kindness, Forna asks us to consider the interconnectedness of lives, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures, and the true nature of happiness....
|Number of Pages||:||368 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Happiness » Happiness|
‘At that time of the day Waterloo Bridge is busy with shoppers and weekend workers who make their way on foot across the bridge to Waterloo Station.’
On that day and at that time, a fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. Among those distracted by the sight are Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist in London to deliver a keynote speech at a conference. This chance encounter defines a starting point for a series of interactions between Jean and ...more
This insightful novel captures the interconnectedness of humans and animals alike as it spans across time, continents, circumstances and emotions, with a diversity of characters.
This is a multi-layered fictional account of a man’s introspection and love for three different women, while at the same time allowing the reader to briefly glimpse the lives of those he loved. Intermingled throughout the story are wild fox and coyotes (which seems very knowledgeable), plus wild birds. The author weaves the mating of humans and the wild rather interestingly. The reader is left with hope.
I just adored this book. It spoke to me on so many levels and I didn't want it to end. But end is inevitable, so as it was drawing to its conclusion I found myself instead wishing I could sit down and have a chat with... the author? ... maybe the character, Attila? I'm not fussy - either would do!
One evening, crossing Waterloo Bridge in London, Jean runs into Attila. Literally, ending up on the ground. She is a divorced American wildlife biologist, living in London while she conducts a study of ...more
The premise of two strangers meeting on Waterloo Bridge because of an urban fox was enough to make me want to read this book. I lived in London for ten years and the city and its fox population have a special place in my heart. And now, so has this lovely beautifully crafted novel.
This is a story of two people who have already had a life. Throughout the book we get glimpses of the past that has shaped them into the people they are in the present. Atilla is a psychiatrist from Ghana, who has hist ...more
Perplexing. There is a lot going on in this novel and I’m not sure how much happiness is contained within. Ms. Forna is attempting to show the interrelatedness of lives that can intersect and cause a change reaction. Attila and Jane meet in London, totally by chance, she bumps into him on a bridge, and no words are exchanged initially but they see each other later, again by chance and converse with each other, and those exchanges form the basis of this busy novel. The prose is what carried me th ...more
Review copy courtesy of Grove Atlantic via NetGalley, many thanks for the opportunity.
I’ve not read Aminatta Forna’s earlier novel ‘The Memory of Love’, though I saw it on bookshop shelves at the time of publication and admired its cover, but I shall be seeking it out as a matter of urgency as a result of my reading this latest of hers and how interested it has made me in Sierra Leone and its recent history.
This is an educational experience on several levels, giving an insight into the habits ...more