The novel is set on a Virginia slave plantation in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Narrator and Point of View
The novel is narrated through the voices of several characters; the point of view shifts every chapter to a different character's perspective.
Tone and Mood
The tone is reflective; the mood is mournful.
Protagonist and Antagonist
The protagonist is Whitechapel; his antagonists include his son, Sanders Junior and Senior, and his grandchildren.
The novel's major conflict is that Whitechapel betrays his son Chapel by telling the slave master which escape route Chapel has taken; upon Chapel's capture Sanders Junior lashes Chapel to death and Whitechapel blames himself.
The novel reaches its climax when Sanders Junior finds Whitechapel curled up and lying dead on the ground.
D'Aguiar writes that Chapel and Lydia read about star-crossed lovers, an allusion to Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet.
Metonymy and Synecdoche
The Longest Memory Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Longest Memory is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.