She Left Me the Gun

Paperback $16.00

Jun 24, 2014 | 320 Pages

Hardcover $26.95

May 16, 2013 | 320 Pages

Ebook $9.99

May 16, 2013 | 320 Pages

Audiobook Download $17.50

May 16, 2013 | 490 Minutes

  • Paperback $16.00

    Jun 24, 2014 | 320 Pages

  • Hardcover $26.95

    May 16, 2013 | 320 Pages

  • Ebook $9.99

    May 16, 2013 | 320 Pages

Buy the Audiobook Download:

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“[A] courageous, clear-sighted book, which shifts between memoir and elegy as it examines the persistence of family secrets and the fragile interface between innocence and knowledge …  Brockes handles her toxic material with a lightness of touch that navigates skillfully between tragedy and bleak comedy… [Brockes’s mother] did not need to leave her daughter a gun in the end. Her real bequest to Brockes was the psychological freedom to be able to confront the past without inhibition, and to take straight aim at it. The gun is this book.” —The Guardian (UK)

She Left Me the Gun is quite simply an extraordinary book. In the hands of any halfway decent author, this would be an incredible story: a mother with a mysterious South African past who arrived in England in her early twenties with a beautiful antique handgun and a mission to forget who she used to be. In the hands of a writer as gifted as Emma Brockes, it’s basically the perfect memoir: a riveting, authentic tale elegantly told.‘  —Sunday Telegraph (UK)

“Full of intellect and feeling and dartlike expression. It’s one of those memoirs that remind you why you liked memoirs in the first place, back before every featherhead in your writers’ group was trying to peddle one. It has the density of a very good novel… As you do with the best writers, you feel lucky to be in Ms. Brockes’s company throughout She Left Me the Gun. She is mugged; her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, and swastika-wearing bikers roar up. She never loses her composure… This is a grim story, but it’s also a love story.” –Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“An exemplary family history and immensely brave… Brockes’s descriptions of South Africa and her newly discovered family (towards whom she is loyal and generously affectionate) are astute and, one feels, tempered by the tightly coiled wayward nature of the freshly grief-stricken. It makes the slow pace of the revelations all the more honourable and heartfelt. The result is a wise, tender letter of love to a mother and her incredible sense of love and ­necessary self-sufficiency.” –Helen Davies, Sunday Times (UK)

This soul-searching tale is a shocking trail of murder, violence, incest and betrayal that leaves her both shocked and proud … Emma Brockes writes with dry humour and a refreshing lack of sentiment as she unravels the complex family ties that have become twisted into a difficult and at times almost impenetrable web of hidden suffering.” —Daily Express (UK)

“The riveting memoir about how a prizewinning British journalist reclaimed her mother’s traumatic past… The story of Brockes’ quest to understand her mother’s past is powerful on its own, but the backdrop against which most of the narrative unfolds—a country with its own history of rapacious violence—makes the book even more poignant and unforgettable.

“This astonishing, unsettling book examines the relationship between knowledge and love. Vigorously unsentimental, deeply absorbing, and written with fierce wit, it is an unstinting look at what it means to be innocent, at any stage of life, and how obsessively we all seek and avoid the many faces of truth.”
     —Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree and The Noonday Demon

“A beautiful, wise book. It deals with some of the grimmest aspects of human experience, but it is also one of the most genuinely uplifting works I have read in years. Emma Brockes’s superb, clear-eyed narration is an object lesson for any aspiring memoir writer. She Left Me the Gun deserves to become a classic.”
     —Zoë Heller, author of The Believers and Notes on a Scandal

“Emma Brockes sets out on a delicate journey to uncover a secret locked in the heart of her own family’s darkness. A harrowing tale of murder and incest emerges, unfolding by stages in this utterly compelling psychological memoir.”
     —John Berendt, author of The City of Falling Angels and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

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