From William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turnerto 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 Memorytells 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 Memoryis 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.
'A gripping lyric exploration of the life of Whitechapel, a slave on an 18th century Virginia plantation... a brilliant - and beautiful - achievement.' Independent on Sunday
Winner of David Higham Prize for Fiction 1994 and Whitbread Prize (First Novel) 1994 and Whitbread Book Awards: First Novel Category 1994.
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.