Author: Augustine Sam
Publisher: Melange Books LLC
In award-winning poet, Augustine Sam 's debut novel Take Back The Memory, psychiatrist Paige Lyman reluctantly follows the advice of her daughter Diane, who thinks her mother is going mad, and seeks professional help from a psychoanalyst, Dr. Wilson. What follows is a series of psychoanalysis sessions wherein using free association Paige is guided by Dr. Wilson into the darkest corners of her mind. Paige informs Dr. Wilson that she is in the process of writing her memoirs and is urged to divulge everything that comes to her mind, regardless how insignificant, painful or weird it may seem to her.
It is during these sessions that we learn that when Paige was a youngster living in Kenya she was madly in love with a handsome Irish school mate, Bill Madigan, whom she thought she would one day marry. However, Bill's father had other plans for his son and was preparing him to go into the priesthood. After Bill completed his primary school education, Bill was sent off to a junior seminary in Ireland and for Paige the world was never the same again. She never heard from Bill again and believed he earned a degree in Theology and was subsequently ordained a priest.
Devastated and betrayed, Paige in subsequent sessions reveals that she was obsessed in avenging Bill's betrayal. Consequently, discovering her sexual powers and that men were drawn to her “like moths to a glittering light,” she embarks in a series of sexual conquests with three priests believing her actions to be sensual sorcery. To Paige this was a personal vendetta to deliberately destroy every priest's vow of celibacy. She wanted these priests to suffer, “it would transform them overnight from saint-like, cassock-wearing charlatans to barefaced sinners, from intercessors to victims, from God's own torchbearers to outright fornicators.”
Although none of these encounters healed Page, she does find true love when she meets Stern W, a medical researcher, who sweeps her off her feet and marries her. For Paige he had made the impossible happen as he changed her from a woman full of self-hate to someone who became a responsible wife and mother. In the end, which incidentally turns out to be quite a surprise, we are left to ponder the novel's final words - “Love is a mystery.... an indecipherable mystery.”
makes this erotically charged tale an outstanding debut is readers
can actually feel the protagonist leaping off the page and sitting in
their living rooms describing the messy complications of her life. In
addition, Sam's superb storytelling talent runs the spectrum from
crafting a candid psychological exposé with tantalizing illicit sex
scenes to a grim depiction of a scorned troubled woman who has
suffered from long-term hurt. Another plus about this novel which
makes it a pleasure to read is the ease, fluidity, the economy and
tight structure, as well as the precision of Sam's prose which has a
deft accuracy in its tone and execution. I would surmise that his
outstanding poetic skills had a great deal to do with his ability to
effortlessly spin quite a yarn.