The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion

Grove. May 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780802158581. $26. LIT
In this collection of essays, novelist Forna (The Memory of Love) touches on travel, trauma, and family. It reads as a sort of nonlinear memoir that tells stories of her mixed Scottish and Sierra Leonian family and her travels between Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Forna reflects on her life and her work as she moves through these different cultures and encounters situations both good and difficult. She discusses race, misogyny, poverty, and environmentalism, in witty and poetic prose. While some essays are many pages long, highly detailed, and quite serious, others incorporate humor and humility in more precise language on fewer pages. The varied essay lengths give readers time to breathe in between, before they embark on another of Forna’s adventures, whether that’s discussing her sleep patterns (or lack thereof), her interactions with a legendary ape of Sierra Leone named Bruno, or civil war.
VERDICT These essays are raw, informative, and often entertaining; fans of essayists like Roxane Gay will devour this book quickly and be left wanting more of Forna’s stories.
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