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Feeding the Ghosts

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  144 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Inspired by a true story, this suspenseful and deeply moving novel chronicles an incident of courage and rebellion that took place aboard a disease-riddled slave ship returning from Africa. It was called Zong, and when disease threatens to infect all aboard, the ship's captain orders his crew to seize the sick men, women, and children and throw them into the sea. But one f ...more
Paperback, 244 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Ecco Press (first published August 28th 1997)
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Dec 21, 2009 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Throughout Fred D’Aguiar’s factually-based novel one character is described and portrayed in full detail and complexity: Mintah. D’Aquiar’s novel chronicles the events aboard the slave ship Zong, where—under orders by Captain Cunningham—the crew throws 132 slaves overboard. In theory, Captain Cunningham issues the orders to “save” the rest of the crew and slaves from disease. In reality, the captain decided they will save on rations by reducing their “stock” and that the slaves, weakened by dise ...more
May 25, 2013 Leif rated it liked it
Translating the atrocity of the Zong into the genre of the novel, D'Aguiar does what fellow writers David Dabydeen and M. Nourbese Philip do not: he breathes vivacity into the dead and narrates the event not as if it were an inaccessible object lost in "The sea is history," as the novel's epigraph from Derek Walcott cites, but rather as if it lingers almost accessibly in the archive of language. While his story should be read as a tale of possibilities and certainly not one of certainties, there ...more
Daniel Clausen
Aug 24, 2011 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing
I'm at the library right now. I'm considering whether to give this book away. My brain tells me one thing--that I need to get lighter. That I need to slowly start shedding the bounds of material possessions and become lighter if I'm going to survive as a traveler in the coming years. My heart tells me another thing. It tells me that this book has the ability to heal. In this way, my plight is not so dissimilar than the plight of the captain of the Zong.

I would love to leave this book someplace
Jun 28, 2011 Irina rated it really liked it
A tragic, beautifully written story.
Nicole Gervasio
Sep 27, 2012 Nicole Gervasio rated it really liked it
Devastating. There were times when the imagery was so gruesome that I had to put it down. Nevertheless, I was really moved by the historiographic/fictionalized account it gives of the Zong disaster (in which 134 slaves were drowned, supposedly for being deathly sick and contagious, at sea, while en route from Africa to America). Mintah is such a bad-ass (for most of the novel), and the book emphasizes that heroism and hope really do persist, even when survival is tested to its absolute limits.

Aug 14, 2015 Steve rated it liked it
Low 3. The emotive and inspirational storyline centred on the horrors of the transatlantic trade held so much promise for this novel to attain greater prominence. The author's lyrical prose does, for the most part, do the material justice, but can overcomplicate. This aspect, together with the unnecessary intervention of a second narrator's philosophical interpretation of the events in the second half of the novel, loses the momentum and intensity which d'Aguiar had earlier achieved. The courage ...more
Sally Whitehead
Aug 21, 2012 Sally Whitehead rated it really liked it
An equally brutal and lyrical fictionalised depiction of the events which took place on the slave ship, Zong, in 1783 as the Captain took the inhumanely harsh decision to throw over 130 of his "stock" overboard in order to make more profit by claiming for his loss through his investor's insurers.

A emotionally challenging read which becomes ever more poetic in its portrayal of the sea, the land, the body and enforced captivity. At times the recounting of events becomes a little repetitive, but ul
Oct 13, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
D'aguiar's lyrical writing is both breath-taking and heart-breaking, and I really enjoyed the layered story-telling. The flow of the narrative was a little jarring because of the different parts, but overall, I really liked this book.
Mar 02, 2012 Cato rated it liked it
I liked it. I really liked it. The star I took from it was because it was a bit too repetitive towards the end for it's own good. Really, it was a hard book to read, but totally worth it.
Jul 24, 2015 Grtdmr rated it liked it
More like 2.5.
Sep 28, 2010 Tanya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a depiction of the murderous 1781 Zong voyage. the beginning was unbelievable, but the middle section bogged down a bit. Ultimately a harrowing read, but worth it.
Jun 04, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Amazing fictional account based on a true story - a slave woman who fought back against her captors while at sea....Haunting novel.
Jul 30, 2007 Donnie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: not many
I don't know; it was ok, but stupid at times. It's a story about a slave ship crossing the Atlantic.
Sarah Sammis
Jun 02, 2011 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it
Hard to forget.
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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 reputa
More about Fred D'Aguiar...

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