Books: One woman’s life in a land of chaos

Guardian journalist Aida Edemariam pieces together the life of her paternal grandmother in this richly imagined debut, which draws on oral testimonies, field trips and deep historical reading

18th March, 2018

BIOGRAPHY: The Wife’s Tale, By Aida Edemariam, Fourth Estate, €21]

Born a century ago in the Ethiopian city of Gondar, the woman at the heart of this memoir lived a life buffeted by feudal empire, fascist rule, revolution and civil war. Yetemegnu can scarcely imagine what challenges lie ahead as she stands, veiled, eight years old, in the opening scene, about to marry a stranger two decades her senior.

She soon...

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