George Orwell strikes me as a man who was easy to love because he had a tenderness in him that runs like a stream throughout these letters and makes you feel, as you read, how much you would have liked to know him.
We become increasingly aware that we are in the mind of a doctor who has taught himself to observe carefully, who has an amazingly strong will to survive, and who chooses not to waste precious time and energy on anger or revenge.
Aminatta Forna has given us a novel that belies its modest premise, a book about how the human mind protects itself by not knowing, yet sometimes, due to unexpected circumstances, comes to terms with what it thought it could not.
We are left with a somewhat scattered narrative written in the third person with an omniscient narrator that moves from one inner life to another, sometimes to good effect, and sometimes leaving the reader stranded.
This novella is a gift to all of us who love Patrick White’s strangely alive prose and a welcome addition to his oeuvre. And for those who don’t know his work, it is a terrific way to be introduced to one of the 20th century’s finest writers.