Aminatta Forna’s newest novel Happiness will hit US stores in March in the USA from Atlantic Monthly Press and in April in the UK from Bloomsbury. There’s no word on when African readers will get their mitts on this novel just yet.
Aminatta Forna isn’t unfamiliar to readers of this blog with three novels The Hired Man, The Memory of Love and Ancestor Stones, as well as the memoir The Devil that Danced on the Water. The Sierra Leonean’s books have won multiple prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Book Award, and been shortlisted for many others, among them the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Neustadt Prize, the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Dublin International IMPAC Award.
In 2014, Forna won the Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize, an award from Yale University in honour of an author’s body of work. Forna has acted as judge for a number of literary awards, including the International Man Booker and the Baileys Prize. She is currently Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University and Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. In 2017, she was awarded an OBE.
The author’s newest offering to the world is Happiness and it is described thus by its publishers;
Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide. Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes. From this chance encounter in the midst of the rush of a great city, numerous moments of connections span out and interweave, bringing disparate lives together.
Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma and to check up on the daughter of friends, his ‘niece’, Ama, who hasn’t called home in a while. It soon emerges that she has been swept up in an immigration crackdown – and now her young son Tano is missing.
When, by chance, Attila bumps into Jean again, she joins him in his search for Tano, mobilizing into action the network she has built up, mainly from the many West African immigrants working London’s myriad streets, of volunteer fox-spotters: security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens. All unite to help and as the search continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.
In this delicate yet powerful novel of loves lost and new, of past griefs and of the hidden side of a multicultural metropolis, Aminatta Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures – and the true nature of happiness.
The new book comes with some pretty good endorsements. Here are the two that really worked for me;
“A deeply moving novel about love, trauma and the ties that bind us together. Beautifully written and ingeniously allegorical. Aminatta Forna is a writer of phenomenal talent, with a clear eye, a fearless voice, and an extraordinary range”
Laila Lalami, author of The Moor’s Account
“Aminatta Forna expertly weaves her characters’ stories, past and present, in and out of the larger story of London, which becomes as rich a character as the human beings and, indeed, the foxes; and she makes us care deeply about them all, the foxes, the people and the city. A terrific novel”
We can wait to get our hands on this new offering in the market.