Trezza Azzopardi’s highly acclaimed first novel, The Hiding Place (2001), dealt with a daughter’s efforts to piece together the story of her disintegrating family, part of Cardiff’s Maltese community. Remember Me, her second novel, deals with another disintegrating family. But this time the story is set in a fictionalized Norwich, England, where Azzopardi actually lives; the time period is more expansive (seventy years), the focus much more intense and the achievement even more impressive.
Based on an actual Cardiff street person, Remember Me is the first person account of its perhaps mentally slow and later emotionally damaged narrator, Patricia Richards. By age nine she has lost her childhood, her parents (her bedridden, mentally unstable mother to death, her father to circumstance), her home and even her name; by fifteen she has lost the new name given her by her taciturn grandfather, three more homes, the boy she believes her lover, and their child, and her brief stint as something of a local celebrity, Winifred Foy, Clairvoyant Extraordinaire, before being betrayed by the cobbler who was her abortionist, who wanted to be her husband and who, realizing that he is her biological father, becomes her betrayer, sending her to the local asylum. She spends the next twenty-four years there and the next thirty as one of the homeless, “preoccupied with small things: staying dry, keeping warm, keeping to my routine” until...
(The entire section is 442 words.)