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This sparse, disturbing novel reflects the past, present, and future of a woman, Anna P, who lives on an island off the coast of Italy but can no longer remember how she got there.
She comes from South Africa but has almost no memories of the place or people there.
The only person she has any relationship with is a sex worker whom she pays by the hour.
She has abusive encounters with unknown men, and it is not clear whether she occasionally kills these men or not.
It is only when she begins to connect emotionally with a young boy in her accidental care that she finds some value in herself, some place which she will not allow to be abused, and her life gradually changes.
This meticulously crafted debut asks a number of difficult questions about the nature of memory: Who are we if we lose our memories?
What does it mean to have no identity? And if we have no identity, no sense of ourselves, how can we make any ethical choices?
The answers may not comfort the reader, but The Story of Anna P, as Told by Herself grounds such existential ponderings in a rich imaginative landscape that will linger with the reader long after the last page is read.
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