The Memory Trap

THE MEMORY TRAP, published by 4th Estate in May, 2013, won the prestigious Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award in 2015. This prize is awarded to a single work – fiction, non-fiction, poetry or script – published in the previous three years.

In THE MEMORY TRAP the past feeds into the present and often undermines it in a story about marriage, memory and mistakes that can never be forgiven. It features Nina, a memorial consultant and her futurologist husband Daniel: her sister Zoe, a music teacher and Zoe’s biographer husband, American ex-alcoholic Elliot. And lastly, there is Ramsay Blake, a genius at the piano but a half-baked human being in every other respect.

I’ve long been fascinated by monuments, by the attempt to render concrete what is essentially abstract. And the iconic status of certain memorials: the Statue of Liberty, the Arc de Triomphe, Nelson’s Column, the Brandenburg Gate. And how certain buildings take on the qualities of monuments: the Vatican, the Palace at Versailles. And landscapes, too: the Somme, Gallipoli, Treblinka, Cambodia’s killing fields.

During the writing of THE MEMORY TRAP I visited many monuments in Europe and Russia, in America and Canada, in Australia and parts of Asia. I learned about the allegiances of monuments: how they are in service to the contemporary culture more than to the original event or person they are seeking to honour or remember.

As new monuments are built and others are brought to the ground, as some monuments become particularly popular while others are left to be pigeon perches I have come to regard them as powerfully expressive of changing political and cultural landscapes.

I drew on this research in the creation of my character Nina and her consultancy with TIF, the Together in Freedom group with whom she works during the course of the novel. Memory, whether personal or at the national level is fragile, memory is all too easily co-opted to support questionable means and purposes, memory is disturbingly unreliable and partisan, memory is pock-marked with faults, but without it we are nothing.


Courier-Mail profile 25.5.13

13 thoughts on “THE MEMORY TRAP

  1. Jacqueline Herman

    Hi dear cousin.I am really looking forward to seeing you and to reading your new book. It sounds intriguing. See you on the 7th May. Much love Jacqui

    1. agol6970 Post author

      Thanks so much for your response to the Memory Trap. I believe that the connection between a reader and a novel is unique, intense, intimate. By leaving things open between Elliot and Zoe means that you can imagine the outcome you think best. As the writer, I’m very happy with that. Happy reading.

      Andrea Goldsmith

  2. Ms Dolma Beck

    Hi, again.. Yes, I agree re writer/reader.
    I was just starting to connect with Elliot.. Starting to find him.. Like him.
    Wanted more of him. Really wanted to come to Byron festival( I live on the Sunshine Coast)… And see you talk.
    Not possible though… Hope it’s fun. Regards, Dolma

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  6. cressida

    just finished the memory trap and wanted to start it over – a beautiful book and wonderful writing. Loved it! thank you for a wonderful story

  7. John Roughan

    Just finished reading The Memory Trap and have been engrossed with it. A tiny irritation is the misuse of the word disinterested when you really mean uninterested.

    1. Andrea Goldsmith Post author

      Pleased for the engrossed response but shocked with the uninterested/disinterested misuse – I am usually mindful of the distinction, and certainly after umpteen drafts. If you made a note of the page numbers, I would really appreciate your sending them along, John. Otherwise, I will do a search. Thanks.

      Andrea Goldsmith



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