Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
Yvonne Battle-Felton's new novel is a vital read, and one that won't be forgotten any time soon
Remembered opens in Philadelphia 1910, and Spring, an emancipated slave, is once again visited by the ghost of her dead sister, Tempe, whose appearance usually means bad news. Spring, expecting her own death to be imminent, instead faces the news that her son is in hospital: accusations that he drove a streetcar into a shop window led to a racially-motivated beating. Watching her son’s life slip away, Spring is compelled to tell him the history of his birth and family during slavery, using a blend of reconstructed memories from a scrapbook, newspaper clippings and Tempe’s ghostly input.
Remembered is a story of the importance of memory and of individual stories; of how past events affect and influence the future through generations; and perhaps most importantly, of how it is crucial to never forget. Remembered is not an easy read, but it is not meant to be. Battle-Felton asks us to bear witness to rape, violence and racial atrocities, to truly understand slavery and its lasting implications on people’s lives. Battle-Felton’s prose is captivating and powerful, leading us through the harrowing and brutal events that shaped Spring and her family’s life.
Remembered is a vital read, and one that won't be forgotten any time soon.