eBook - 2018
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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.
Publisher: [United States] : Grove/Atlantic, Inc., 2018
ISBN: 9780802165572
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource
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Aug 11, 2019

Loved this novel. Highly recommended!

DPLalyssab Jan 28, 2019

Two disparate lives cross paths in London -- one a psychologist who assists those surviving war trauma, the other a naturalist tracking urban foxes -- the intersection of their lives and that of the urban fauna speaks volumes about the necessity of kindness.

Jan 18, 2019

There are many things to like about this novel, but I particularly enjoyed Forna's wonderful descriptions of London. At this time of controversy about immigration to the UK (including foxes and parakeets), I note that the two main characters (both from other continents) were true Londoners.

Aug 05, 2018

So beautiful, so deep, so touching.

Jul 03, 2018

A poignant novel, elegantly written. Aminatta Forna had me in the palm of her hand from start to finish, caring deeply about the main & minor characters of her story. But she also had me thinking and caring about foxes and parakeets, about what is happening in London and cities everywhere, about countries peaceful or war-torn, as all of us "the beautiful, much too many" (to quote songwriter Greg Brown) try to figure out how to share this world.

Mar 24, 2018

You take what you know and find what you need to get by and survive day by day. You learn new things, where to glean a living, a safe spot to make a home, whom to trust and whom to avoid. This goes for all living things, flora and fauna. In her novel, Forna explores how humans sometimes make the struggle for survival inordinately and needlessly complex for themselves and the other creatures of the earth. This is a thoughtful and moving character study about how we struggle and survive; how we respond, adapt, and grow. It is also a love story, a story about how impossible and unwise it is to separate one life from another, or one population from another in the same environment. It is a story about our interdependence upon one another--person to person, human to animal, flora to fauna, one life to the whole world.

Feb 21, 2018

. This is the story of Jean, an American woman studying London's urban population of foxes and Attila, a psychiatrist from Ghana and an expert in the field of PTSD, who is in London to deliver a speech on trauma. The two accidentally meet on Waterloo Bridge and their emotional adventures in London are at the center of this novel. Happiness is a jewel of a book. It is lyrical and captivates the reader, even with the most minute of details. It is an elegant read and I look forward to reading more books by Aminatta Forna.


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