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The Longest Memory: A Novel Hardcover – 1 Jan 1995


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Hardcover, 1 Jan 1995
£78.39 £0.35
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books (Jan 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679439625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679439622
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,455,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Oct 1999
Format: Hardcover
One man's tragedy - and the punishment of his continual rememberance of it - serves to illustrate the appalling injustice that built America, and gave rise to English cities such as Liverpool (where I write from). I mean slavery. We all know that slavery is wrong, and desperately so. But being convicted of it in your own heart is something quite different from a cerebral knowledge of that truth. Just as 'Schindler's List' shocked us into despising Nazism, 'The Longest Memory' should shock us into despising slavery. D'Aguiar energetically narrates this tragedy which reminds us of the humanity in us all - regardless of our status - and the immorality of negating the dignity that humanity bestows on us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lamarra on 7 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing, it has struck me emotionally and is a book I will always remember! Although I'm reading it for college I would still advice people to buy this book and read it, it's truly mind blowing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Herman Norford on 5 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems to me that the challenge for Fred D'Aguiar in The Longest Memory was how to tell the age old story of African slavery in the Americas afresh. D'Aguiar was traversing a terrain that has long been travelled by many great writers. D'Aguiar's was a successful journey. In this concise novel he covers old grounds but with a panache that brought a sense of freshness.

The story focuses on a slave called Chapel. Chapel is of dual heritage after the rape of his slave mother by the plantation overseer, Sanders. Issues and events are conveyed through the memory of the slave who takes Chapel as his son, namely Whitechapel. The slave Whitechapel lives a long life spanning two generations of his master's family so the story covers events over a long period of time. Although we are meant to take it that events are conveyed through Whitechapel's recollections, D'Aguiar nonetheless allows the main characters to present their views of the key events. We then have multiple narrators, narrating events from their point of view. Some of the key events are: Chapel's parentage, a developing mutual love between Chapel and Lydia, the daughter of the plantation owner, Chapel's education through Lydia and his developing free spirit, his escape from the plantation and beating to death by the overseer who happens to be his half brother.

This is a novel in which I think that the reader is required to bring some knowledge and experience of reading the slave novel because the issues and ramification of slavery are conveyed subtly and through symbolism at times. For example, D'Aguiar reminds us of the ownership of slaves by having the main character named after his master, Mr Whitechapel, and Whitechapel in turn names his son Chapel.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having read this book I was not at all surprised to find that Fred D’Aguiar is an award-winning poet; he is a master of making every word earn its place. This book would be an excellent text for study in literature classes, at school or university level. I read it today and know that I could read it tomorrow and get more from it, but it is so well-written that if you just want to read the surface story you will find it an easy read and you will not be disappointed.
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