Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Book Review: 'Take Back the Memory' by Augustine Sam

Author, poet, journalist Augustine Sam lives in Venice, Italy - that most romantic of all cities - and offers this his first novel for romantics and those looking for meaning in the many challenges life offers. Augustine is a bilingual journalist, a member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, a former Special Desk editor at THISDAY newspapers, an authoritative third world daily, first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London. He later became correspondent for central Europe. In is personal hours he writes poems and his poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence & Measures of the Heart. One of his poems: Anguish & Passion was adjudged winner of the Editors' Choice Award in the North America Open Poetry contest, USA. This poetic background is evident in the manner in which he approaches prose - words so eloquently phrased that each page gives the reader the sense that resetting the words would create one of his unique poems.

Often in the prologues of fine novels, the author introduces not only pertinent subject matter but also offers an aperitif of writing style that acts as an overture to the music that will follow. Such is the case with Augustine's Prologue - pay attention to the language: `Diane was dreaming about her husband, John, when suddenly, a strange sound woke her. A sensation of foreboding followed by a shower of gooseflesh, gripped her as a loud, familiar voice came to her from the direction of the living room. "Okay folks," the voice said, "today we won't dwell on the notion that women are biologically castrated men because that has already been rejected as scientifically unsatisfying." Diane's jaw dropped. "Oh, no," she muttered; she inclined her head, and listened, scowling and gaping. A shudder followed. It was nearly half past seven in the morning. Thin rays of daylight trickled into the room through the window, illuminating her face. "Aw," she croaked, and struggled to a sitting position, her hand instinctively caressing her slightly protruding belly. Stifling a yawn, she swung her feet from the bed, and carefully placed them on the Persian rug. "Stay safe, John," she said, as her thoughts embraced him, alone in Detroit, a determined courtroom brawler, steeling himself for his first real legal battle. She hoped he would win his case. She rose from the bed and pulled a chiffon robe over her shoulders. Fluffing her hair, she walked to the window of the small, all-white room in her mother's cottage. In silence, she parted the blind, squinting. A late September sun rose over the Manhattan skyline. The delicate cast of its rays captured the cloudless sky in a halo of naked beauty. Intrigued by the sight, Diane patted her baby bump and gazed, fascinated, at the rising sun, perched at the horizon like a giant ball of fire. She pulled the window ajar, and leaned against the pane, gazing animatedly at the people on the sidewalks.' As with composers, some themes have been set in motion in this brief passage that will gradually become the story.

The author's synopsis offers what follows; `What would you do if you found out that the man you married is not who you thought he was? What would you do if you suddenly discovered that you have indeed had the one thing you had yearned for all your life without realizing it? Now, imagine a woman transformed from psychiatrist to patient, and lured into a compelling backward journey through her own life on a psychotherapist's couch. Imagine skeletons from the past pulling her back into the vortex of darkness from which she thought she had escaped. Paige Lyman is a woman conned by fate, and plagued by damning memories she must decipher in order to be free. `Take Back the Memory' is a psychological exposé on love, betrayal, vengeance, and a heart-wrenching secret.'

And that is all you need to know to embrace this new writer whose talent is immense. Poet and storyteller blend seamlessly in a drama that explores the human psyche and that thin line between living and experiencing life. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, July 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.