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 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? In The Book of Memory, Petina Gappah has created a uniquely slippery narrator: forthright, acerbically funny, and with a complicated relationship to the truth. Moving between the townships of the poor and the suburbs of the rich, and between the past and the present, Gappah weaves a compelling tale of love, obsession, the relentlessness of fate, and the treachery of memory.

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6.8

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Critic Reviews (6)

6.8
Weighted Avg. Adjusted by the addition of a statistical value.
Critic Score Distribution
Highest score:
Lowest score:
Average score:
8.0
7.0
7.7
  1. Positive: 6 Out of 6
  1. Mixed: 0 Out of 6
  1. Negative: 0 Out of 6
Critical Consensus: Generally favorable.
1

The Guardian

23 Feb 2017
7.0
Petina Gappah powerfully probes the tricksy nature of memory through the story of Memory, or Mnemosyne, an albino woman consigned to Chikurubi prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, convicted of murdering a wealthy white man, Lloyd, her adopted father. She is t ...
1

Irish Times

23 Feb 2017
8.0
Two years into a death row sentence in a Zimbabwean prison for the murder of a white man, Mnemosyne writes down an account of her extraordinary life for a foreign journalist. Piecing together her complicated past does not come easy: “Sometimes you ...
1

Whats On Africa

23 Feb 2017
8.0
The Book of Memory is a bittersweet novel. It tells the story of Memory, an albino woman on death row. The structure of this novel, and the unfolding of its events, reminded me of a similar device in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, where t ...
1

LA Times

23 Feb 2017
8.0
“The Book of Memory” by Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah is a fiercely vivid novel that in some places — particularly, unfortunately, its opening pages — takes itself too seriously. Some paragraphs there are loaded with foreshadowing a ...
1

Express.co.uk

23 Feb 2017
8.0
The revelations at the end are so dramatic they change everything you’ve read and you learn that you can’t trust memories. Or should that be Memory? Memory, our narrator, is writing from her cell in Zimbabwe’s notorious Chikurubi women’s pris ...
1

Financial Times

23 Feb 2017
7.0
Mugabe’s Zimbabwe was put firmly under the microscope in Petina Gappah’s award-winning 2009 short-story collection An Elegy for Easterly. Satirical and soulful, its voice and theme are further amplified in Gappah’s first novel, about a young wo ...

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SIMILAR Books

Publisher:

Faber & Faber

ISBN:

978-0-571-24991-6

Language:

English

Literary Awards:

McKitterick Prize (2016)
PEN Open Book Award, Shortlisted (2017)
Women's Prize for Fiction, Longlisted (2016)

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