Information about the author.
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…[more]
From memories of a childhood in Guyana through an elegiac exploration of the shootings at Virginia Tech University in 2006, this poetry collection journeys from youth to maturing and from continent to continent. Celebrating individuals and the histories embedded in places, this compilation recollects the smell of bitumen, the local hero who came in last in the National Cycle Championship, and the 33 unique individuals who perished in Virginia. Powerful and intimate, this examination argues that alongside grief there is still delight in the world.
“The sea is slavery,” begins Fred D’Aguiar’s powerful novel, which starts aboard the Zong, a slave ship returning from Africa in 1781. Only ten weeks into the voyage, the Zong is struck with a disease that threatens to infect all of th human cargo.
The ship’s profit-driven commander, Captain Cunningham, conceives a gruesome plan to safeguard his financial investment. In order to recover insurance money and protect the rest of the valuable stock, the captain orders his men to bring the sick and infirm slaves on deck in small numbers and throw them over the side.
During the roundup, Mintah, a young African woman raised in a Christian mission, begins to taunt Kelsal, the first mate, in whom she sees a hint of humanity. But her scheme fails, and Mintah is hurled into the sea, along with 131 other slaves. …[more]