Feeding the Ghosts

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Ecco Press, Jan 1, 1999 - Fiction - 230 pages
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The Sea is slavery", begins Fred D'Aguiar's deeply moving novel that starts aboard the Zong, a slave ship returning from Africa. Faced with a disease that threatens to infect the entire ship, Captain Cunningham orders his crew to seize the sick men, women, and children and throw them overboard. One hundred and thirty-two slaves are tossed into the sea, their bodies registered as strokes in the Captain's log, their names never set down.

But one slave, Mintah, survives drowning. Mintah, who was thrown overboard not for sickness but for being strong-willed and stubborn, climbs back onto the ship and hides in the food store. From there she attempts to rouse the remaining slaves to rebel, becoming a secret force on the ship and stirring up unease among the crew with a voice and a conscience they seem unable to silence.

Inspired by an actual incident, this powerful novel is about history and distortions of the truth, about the importance of memory and testimony in the struggle against oblivion. Richly atmospheric, full of suspense, and profoundly moving, this is undoubtedly Fred D'Aguiar's finest book to date.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

This third novel from Whitbread-winner D'Aguiar, as impressive as its predecessors (Dear Future, 1996; The Longest Memory, 1995), depicts a barbaric deed in history—a British slave-ship captain's ... Read full review

Feeding the ghosts

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

By turns dreamlike and almost unbearably gritty, D'Aguiar's (Dear Future, LJ 8/96) poignant take on a historic event transports the reader deep into the very timbers of the slave ship Zong, en route ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Fred D'Aguiar was born in London but raised in Guyana. He has worked as a poet, critic and dramatist. His first collection of poetry, "Mama Dot" (1985), won a number of prizes, and was followed by "Airy Hall" (1989). His most recent collections are "British Subjects" (1993), "Bill of Rights" (1998) and "English Sampler: Selected Poems" (1998). He is currently lecturing in the USA.

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