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Robert Lloyd

Petina Gappah's 'The Book of Memory' is a vivid and powerful debut novel

Petina Gappah's 'The Book of Memory' is a vivid and powerful debut novel

"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 and sentimentality — but this is just an awkward warm-up for a book of song and color.

"[My mother] is the voice of the Chimera that haunts my dreams. She is the stranger that glances back from my mirror when I least expect to see her. She is my beating heart, my palpitating fear."

Gappah's first book, the short-story collection "An Elegy for Easterly" (2009), was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor...

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