** She Left me the Gun by Emma Brockes


She Left Me the Gun: My Mother’s Life Before Me is the author’s search for what impelled her mother to leave South Africa for England as a young adult and her discovery of a terrifically abusive father (her mother’s father, so her grandfather). The book alternates between her travels in South Africa, meeting her mother’s siblings, often estranged from one another, and her memories of her mother, who never said a word to her about her South African life.

Although the subject matter is very dark and the author makes it clear that family secrets are corrosive, it is an inspiring story in the sense that her mother was able to build a new life for herself and her daughter.

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