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Pub Date 2016

The Book Of Memory

by Petina Gappah

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Book Description

The story that you have asked me to tell you does not begin with the pitiful ugliness of Lloyd’s death. It begins on a long-ago day in August when the sun seared my blistered face and I was nine years old and my father and mother sold me to a strange man.

Memory, the narrator of Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, after being sentenced for murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it.

The death penalty is a mandatory sentence for murder, and Memory is, both literally and metaphorically, writing for her life. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? Why does Memory feel no remorse for his death? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?

Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between past and present, the 2009 Guardian First Book Award–winning writer Petina Gappah weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, and the treachery of memory.


Author: Petina Gappah | Print ISBN: 978-9784851848 | Format: Flapped paperback | No. of Pages: 311 |  Pub. Date: 2016

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About the Author

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About Petina Gappah

PETINA GAPPAH is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe. Her debut story collection, An Elegy for Easterly (2009) was short-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and won the 2009 Guardian First Book Award.


A: Mr Blackadder, you’re the only voter in this rotten borough?
B: That’s right.
A: How long have you lived here?
B: Since Wed morning.
A: 1 voter. 16 472 votes. A slight anomaly?
B: Not really. My votes are simply a reflection of how much I believe in the candidate’s policies. https://t.co/JkRJ7quHpn

Have just had a blistering discussion with my 17 year-old historian about land policies of Ho Chi Minh and Diem, and US attitudes to land reform. We ended up discussing Truman’s containment and roll-back policies and the Vietnam War as a proxy war. A lovely end to a bleak week.

What a swell idea! One of the reasons SB was such a great diplomat is that he was surrounded by exceptional diplomats as his Brains Trust, vanamazvikokota! Watching SB in meetings with, inter alia Ambassador Manzou, Ambassador Comberbatch & Ambassador Chipaziwa was a masterclass https://t.co/fDKUd8T7wY
Kudzai Mutisi @KMutisi
If l were President @edmnangagwa, l would appoint Ambassador Stuart Comberbach to be the next Minister of Foreign Affairs... He can get the job done and done so well... https://t.co/rNOg8a8y0p

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