Laura Gallagher

Trouble in Zimbabwe

The Book of Memory


Faber & Faber 288pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

The Death of Rex Nhongo


Quercus Books 320pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The slender period these two novels cover is that part of Zimbabwean history most known to the Western world: what Petina Gappah calls ‘the invasions’ of white-owned farms. C B George’s titular Rex Nhongo (the nom de guerre of General Solomon Mujuru) was murdered on his ‘reformed’ farm, while the death of Gappah’s character Lloyd (of whose murder Gappah’s protagonist, Memory, is convicted) coincided with the repossessions. It is to the authors’ credit, however, that neither actually dramatises that episode or names Mugabe, who is only ever referred to as ‘the President’.

The Book of Memory is Gappah’s first published novel but it is not a debut work of fiction:

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,