Author: Ayo Deforge
Swept Away is a contemporary story of loss, love, and growth set primarily in Lagos, with some key incidents unfolding in France and in London. Ever since Lami was a child she has been incapable of crying with tears – a biological constraint which her father construed as evidence of stubbornness, or even of witchcraft, so he inflicts immense harm on her. After her mother died, her father separated Lami and her siblings by giving each child away to different relatives. Tutu, the youngest, was sent away to live with a distant aunt in England. Lami grows up determined to find her little sister. As Lami navigates adolescence and adulthood, she meets Ada, a lifesaving friend. Ada encourages Lami to pursue her love for the French language, a pursuit which opens new enriching worlds for her, but also new risks.
At a cocktail party in Lagos, Lami meets Alex, a French policeman attached to the embassy who is working with Interpol to arrest a mafia boss who has just entered Nigeria. ‘Gabby le libanais’ is a member of a gang of organized criminals which operated in France until the end of the 1990s. He starts a company in Lagos and he has employed Lami as his bilingual secretary. Lami and Alex are instantly attracted to each other but they also each have different motives. Lami wants Alex to help her trace her sister. He, on the other hand, wants her to keep an eye on her boss. In this game of personal benefits, Lami falls in love with Alex and believes he loves her too. Meanwhile, Lami’s close friend, Nicolas, who she met at the same party when she first met Alex, has confessed his love for her, and Lami must choose between the man whose love might never bring her happiness, and the man who she had thought would never be more than a friend.
All of our lives are essentially a longing for love. In Swept Away we see love’s luminous and radiant sides, but we also see its darker dimensions. Lami’s journey will offer hope to all readers who are battling to let go of the past in order to prevent it from spilling into the present and the future. Women everywhere will identify with Lami and will find her inspiring and emboldening as she struggles to make sense of all the losses she has encountered and learns to rise above them.