Feeding the Ghosts

Fred D'Aguiar

Published: 6 February 2014
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781847088642
£8.99

Overview

'The sea is slavery.'

Inspired by a true story, this suspenseful and moving book chronicles an incident of courage and rebellion that took place aboard a disease-riddled slave ship, the Zong, returning from Africa. When illness threatens to infect all on board, the ship's captain orders his crew to seize the sick slaves - men, women and children - and throw them into the sea. But one female slave, Mintah, survives drowning and secretly climbs back onto the ship. From her hiding place, she attempts to rouse the remaining captives to rebel against the killings, becoming a dangerous force on the ship.

A trial is held upon the ship's arrival to determine liability for the 131 missing slaves. The crew is nearly absolved of responsibility until Mintah's journal is produced, which directly contradicts the crew's accounts. The final words belong to Mintah, whose first-person account of her life after the Zong is troubling and dramatic. D'Aguiar's spare prose starkly reveals the inner lives of First Mate Kelsall, Mintah and the crew members as they face the moral weight of this atrocity. D'Aguiar's imagery is haunting, his characters' thoughts complex and the mood is darkly compelling.


About the author

Image of Fred D'Aguiar

Poet, novelist and playwright Fred D'Aguiar was born in London in 1960 to Guyanese parents. He lived in Guyana until he was 12, returning to England in 1972. He trained as a psychiatric nurse before reading African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury, graduating in 1985. His first collection of poetry, Mama Dot (1985), was published to much acclaim and established his reputation as one of the finest British poets of his generation. Along with Airy Hall (1989), it won the Guyana Poetry Prize in 1989 and was followed by British Subjects (1993). His first novel, The Longest Memory (1994), tells the story of Whitechapel, a slave on an eighteenth-century Virginia plantation, and won both the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Whitbread First Novel Award. It was translated into 12 languages and subsequently televised by Channel 4 in the UK. He is also the author of the novels Dear Future (1996) and Bethany Bettany (2003). His long poem 'Sweet Thames' was broadcast as part of the BBC 'Worlds on Film' series in 1992. Fred D'Aguiar's poetry includes Bill of Rights (1998), a long narrative poem about the Jonestown massacre in Guyana in 1979; and a long narrative poem, Bloodlines, the story of a black slave and her white lover, published in 2000. His latest poetry collection is Continental Shelf (2009), shortlisted for the 2009 T. S. Eliot Prize. His new novel, Children of Paradise, will be published by Granta in 2014, along with a reissue of his acclaimed novel Feeding the Ghosts. He was Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Cambridge University (1989-90), Visiting Writer at Amherst College, Amherst, MA (1992-4), and was Assistant Professor of English at Bates College, Lewiston, ME (1994-5). More recently he was Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Miami and he is currently Professor of English at Virginia Tech. More about the author


Reviews

‘A fast-moving, compelling narrative... mesmerising.. rare, troubling and admirable’ Ali Smith

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Reviews

‘A jolting, disturbing story, powerfully and poetically written’

‘A novel of great power and beauty... compelling’ Barry Unsworth

‘A well-made and fascinating book’

‘Fred D'Aguiar has fashioned a rich and compelling novel. It has both suspense and poetic resonance’ Maya Jaggi

‘The writing is luminous and poetic, without any loss of precision or sharpness of observation <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"> ’





 
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