Set in England against the backdrop of World War II, the much anticipated second novel by the Booker Prize finalist and national best-selling author of The Hiding Place is a story of pursuit: of stolen goods, of missing years, and of one womans forgotten history
The only debut novel to be short-listed for the Booker Prize in 2001, The Hiding Place became a national bestseller and established Trezza Azzopardi as an international sensation. With her second novel, Remember Me, Azzopardi delivers a harrowing, elegant, and vivid portrait of a lost life at last reclaimed.
Seventy-two-year-old Winniehomeless and abandoned time and again by those shes trustedwould say shes no trouble. She is content to let the days go by, minding her own business, bothering no one. Winnie would rather not recall the past and at her age doesnt see much point in thinking about the future. But she is catapulted out of her exile when a young girl robs her of her suitcase and her wigWinnies only material possessions. With nothing else to show for her life, these few pieces are irreplaceable to her; she wants them back.
Winnie then embarks on a journey to find the thief, and what begins as a search for stolen belongings becomes the rediscovery of a stolen life. Forced to take stock of how events long buried have brought her to a derelict house on the edge of nowhere, she relives the secrets of a past she had disowned. From her childhood in the 1930s and the upheaval caused by a feuding family, to the dislocation caused by World War II, and finally to the days leading up to her "fall," Winnie recalls a series of revelations and betrayals so disturbing it is no wonder she was driven out of normal society and onto the streets.
As she pieces together the fragments of her life, her once secluded world begins to fill with peopleincluding her devoted father, the haunting figure of her mother, and her domineering grandfatherand Winnie recognizes that she is no longer simply on a hunt for stolen goods. After all these years, she has not escaped from her life at all: she has been circling it, and must now come to terms with it.
Although Winnie is a fictional character set in a fictional Norwich, she was inspired by Nora Bridle, a resident of the streets of Cardiff. I am indebted to everyone who took the trouble to write to me with their memories of Nora.
Im not infirm, you know: I am my grandfathers age. Thats not so old. And the girl didnt frighten me; she just took me by surprise. I dont know how long I lay there. I only heard her, first. The door at the front of the house was stiff; you had to put all your weight on it, come winter, just to shift it an inch. It groaned if anyone came in. The girl made it groan. It was quiet for a bit, then there was a soft sound, footsteps, someone on the stairs. She came up careful over the broken treads. I wasnt afraid: there was nothing to steal. There was nothing anyone would want. Mine wasnt a house with a TV set or a video player, there was no computer, no jewellery in boxes, no money. All it had was ...
This is a wonderful, poetic book, one to read slowly so as to gather the full impact of each word and each image. Azzopardi doesn't spell things out, you have to sift through the subtleties. Reading it was like navigating in a fog - clearly there were shapes out there but it was difficult to be sure what they were until one came right up against them and they fell into focus.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (526 words).
Trezza Azzopardi was born in Cardiff, Wales, and lives in Norwich,
on the East coast of England.
As a little girl growing up in Cardiff, Trezza would listen to her Gozitan father recount tales and describe the heat haze in Malta. Her first novel, The Hiding Place, published in 2000, is the story of a Maltese family living in Cardiff during the 1960s. It won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize for Fiction and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction). It has been translated into 14 languages.
Azzopardi's family are from Gozo, part ...
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