Memory, the narrator of The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder.
As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been convicted for the murder of her adoptive father. But did everything happen exactly as she remembers?
©2015 Petina Gappah (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd
"Mistress of crushing irony and acerbic humour...this is a fiercely indignant and justly cynical work." (Sunday Times on An Elegy for Easterly)
"Gappah's lightness of touch and excellent sense of humour moderate some of the gravest moments." (Daily Telegraph on An Elegy for Easterly)
"A slow-burner, but a real treat."
This book will haunt me for a long time. Elegant in its simplicity and spare prose style, it crept up on me with some considerable stealth. I took me a couple of hours to become totally wrapped up in its charm but by that time I realised I was listening to an expert piece of storytelling. I was caught up in the fate of Memory, the storyteller, and the host of characters that fleshed out this simple story of an albino girl caught up in a convoluted crime story in post-colonial Zimbabwe. At the heart of the story lies Memory's belief that she was sold as a young girl ,by her parents, to a rich white man. Many years later she finds herself in prison for that man's murder and her lawyer, as part of the appeal process, asks Memory to write down her story. It slowly unravels and, aided by African myths and the contribution of other characters/events in the prison, reveals the heartbreaking truth of her childhood. The denouement left me reeling with sadness and empathy for Memory.
The narration was beautifully paced and the narrator expertly blended the African and colonial voices of the piece.
A 5* read in every sense. I always feel that one of the signs of a good book is how much you invest in the characters/story and believe in them. If it leaves me wanting more and I hurry off to check out the author's back catalogue, it usually means that I have just read a great book and one that I will probably read again. I will certainly revisit this one.
"Avant Garde. The much needed voice for Zimbabwe"
Most definitely. Petinah weaves a very interesting and captivating story. I very much liked the Theory of Memory that is invoked. We all know that memory is self serving and not always reliable Petinah shows this very well in her writing. Also made me think about A bit of Freudian Psychoanalysis thrown in for good measure. This is one book I would read over and over again.
Cant think of any right now
For the most part Chipo's dramatization of the story was great but I was quite disappointed in how she Europeanized Shona words. The accent was not authentic at all and yet I read somewhere that Chipo was Zimbabwean. She did well but could have done better
I would still use its title as its catchy enough and dies well to foreshadow the plot
I loved this book so much. It takes us on a journey of a young lady accused of murdering her adoptive guardian. The African or rather Zimbabwean justice system is clearly outlined and the protagonist's emotions adequately explored. The listener grows with Memory and is allowed to enter into her psyche so much that it becomes easy to forgive and love her for everything. The pace is fast but will captivate from start to finish. Very good book by all accounts. The best out of Zimbabwe for the longest time.
"Very different from my usual reads"
I think if I actually had to read this book is would have struggled to finish it. but the narrator made this book come to life.
interesting story line and enjoyed the general feel of the book.
I would recommend this book to readers who especially love culture.
Absolutely wonderful book. Haunting, acerbic, funny, poignant and utterly human.
First class narration. The characters are distinct and completely alive. Flawless.
"Slow and meandering -"
I found this really tedious, and also irritating in its constant and frequent use of the local dialect - without translation.
The story meandered here, there and everywhere. There really didn't seem to be much purpose to it. The idea was good and I think, if edited very strictly, it would have been worth reading, however that would have cut out about 60 % of it.
I am surprised that I seem to be a minority yet again, but I really wish I hadn't wasted my time and a valuable credit.
"The book of Memory"
Beautiful story beautifully read....slowly slowly we discover more and more about Memory , a young woman in Africa who is also albino, imprisoned for murder.
She is innocent of the crime, but only understanding her history do we understand how she came to be there.
The truth gradually emerges, her misunderstandings put right until she finally sees and we see what has happened. why it happened and that everything was born out of love.
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