The prize-winning author of The Memory of Love investigates London’s hidden nature and marginalized communities in this fascinating novel.
London, 2014. 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. Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma, and to contact a friend’s daughter Ama, 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.
Jean offers to help Attila by mobilizing her network volunteer fox spotters. Soon, rubbish men, 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.Attila’s time in London causes him to question his own ideas about trauma, the values of the society he finds himself in, and a personal grief of his own. In this delicate tale of love and loss, of thoughtless cruelty and unexpected community, Aminatta Forna asks us to consider our co-existence with one another and all living creatures, and the true nature of happiness.