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Remarkable for its keenness of observation, subtlety, and restraint, The Longest Memoryheralds the arrival of a major new voice in the contemporary literature of the African diaspora.

From William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner to Toni Morrison's Beloved, modern American fiction engaged with slavery has provoked fiery controversy. So will The Longest Memory, the powerful, beautifully crafted, internationally acclaimed fictional debut of prizewinning Guyanese poet Fred D'Aguiar.

In language extraordinary for its tautness and resonance, The Longest Memory tells the story of a rebellious, fiercely intelligent young slave, who in 1810 attempts to flee a Virginia plantation - and of his father who inadvertently betrays him. The young slave's love for a white girl who slakes his forbidden thirst for learning and his painful relationship with his father are hauntingly evoked in this novel of astonishing lyrical simplicity. It is a measure of D'Aguiar's achievement and bravery that The Longest Memory is informed not only by the complicities between black slave and white master but also by the tensions among slaves themselves - between stoic survivalists and passionate rebels.

Reviews

A haunting novel whose brevity and directness belie the depths of tragedy it plumbs.

Aida Edemariam, The Guardian (London)

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099462217

    September 8, 1995

    Vintage

    144 pages

    RRP $19.99

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  • EBook

    9781446496343

    November 16, 2017

    Vintage Digital

    144 pages

    Online retailers

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