Fred D'Aguiar The Longest Memory

ISBN 13: 9780380727001

The Longest Memory

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9780380727001: The Longest Memory

The story of a rebellious and fiercely intelligent young slave and the escape attempt that cost him his life is told from the perspectives of his father, the master, the master's daughter, and the overseer's son. Reprint. NYT. K. PW.

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About the Author:

Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960 and raised in Guyana and south-east London. He now lives in Florida, where he teaches English at the University of Miami. Author of four novels and four books of poetry, he has been awarded the University of Kent's T.S. Eliot prize for poetry, the Guyanese National Poetry Award and the Malcolm X prize for poetry. He also won the 1994 Whitbread First Novel Award and the David Higham Award for The Longest Memory.

From Booklist:

This first novel of the acclaimed Guyanese poet, now London resident, is spectacular, not in showiness, but in its sublimity. Its brevity belies its power; it haunts, impresses, depresses--but ultimately causes the reader to rejoice over the ability of fiction to tell truths. The setting is antebellum Virginia, and the plot centers on one despicable incident. A young male slave attempts to run away, is quickly apprehended, and dies in the process of being punished. The structure of the narrative works superbly; in 13 sections, various individuals involved in the young slave's life speak their piece. We hear from, among other persons, his adoptive father, the senior slave on the plantation, who grieves but tries to numb himself as a way of coping with the situation; the plantation owner, who is benevolent to a degree but to whom slaves still represent property; the plantation overseer, who carries out the beating; the cook in the big house, mother of the runaway; and the daughter of the master, who taught the slave to read and by her association with him engendered his flight to freedom. The inhumanity of slavery has not been so achingly understood or expressed so beautifully since Toni Morrison's very disturbing Beloved , and no fiction collection can do without it. Brad Hooper

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Fred D'Aguiar
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