The Book of Memory

Petina Gappah

 

Synopsis

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?

Review

Petina Gappah powerfully probes the tricksy nature of memory [and] brilliantly exposes the gulf between rich and poor . . . The novel is startlingly vivid . . . This is a moving novel about memory that unfolds into one about forgiveness, and a passionate paean to the powers of language. ― The Observer

Author

Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe.