Genres: Literary fiction, Magical Realism, Historical Fiction
This is such a beautiful literary work, I am so glad to have picked this up!
It’s 1910 in Philadelphia and Edward is in the hospital. His mother has no idea if he will make it through the night, although it does not look likely – so his other mother, his biological one, insists that it’s time he knows of the story of his family. She is a ghost, but a very outspoken one who will not rest until her family’s history is passed on and Remembered.
I really enjoyed reading this. Remembered is a book about slavery and being forgotten, about belonging and about loss of freedom. Normally, a book about slavery is a hard, painful read that I need to take several breaks from. Not this one – I flew through this book and could easily have read it in one sitting (if I didn’t have to sleep). There is not much torture in the book, although there are scenes of rape and mention of lynching, nothing is too explicitly or told in too much detail, so that the emotional impact is not so bad. It’s still awful, and I flinched a couple times while reading, but it’s nothing that I found too triggering.
I love, love, love a good ghost story. So this was my favorite part of this book! I am surprised to see so many books with magical realism in the Women’s Prize Longlist, and it’s difficult to choose a favorite. But yes, this was a really good one.
I wish some of the foreshadowing or outright telling what happens to characters was done a bit differently – sometimes you knew already what would happen to them so you sort of distance yourself instead of receiving the full shock of it. I also loved that there were a few newspaper articles here and there, giving the book another depth into how people perceived slavery and the Civil War and how things changed.
It also gives a pretty realistic view on how close in history slavery is. It’s NOT that far away at all.
I have the feeling this will give a similar vibe to House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, with the ghosts and the writing style. I’ve yet to read HoS, so don’t quote me on that. 🙂
Trigger Warnings: slavery, rape, lynching, racism, suicide.