The Longest Memory by Fred D’Aguiar

I’ve had this book almost since it came out in hardback in 1994 soon after it had won the Whitbread First Novel award but never got around to reading it. I picked it off the shelf this morning and an hour and a half later I’d finished it.

It is a really beautiful, compelling book. The story concerns a 100-year-old slave on a Virginian plantation in the early 19th Century and his relationship with the plantation owmer, the overseer and his own dynasty of slaves. I won’t say any more as the plot is revealed cleverly and with real poise through the length of the novel.

D’Aguiar was originally a poet and that grasp of language serves him well throughout the novel. The characters might be accused of being archetypes but I think instead I would say that the book uses simplicity to great effect. Recommended.

Email via telnet

Kludged together a quickstart guide to email through telnet from this story on

(From comments by xQx, carm$y$)

telnet [your mail server] [port – usually 110 for POP3]
USER [username]
PASS [password]

Once you’re in:

STAT gives you number of messages and total size
LIST gives you a list of your messages
RETR [message number] to read a message
HEAD [message number] [bytes] (I couldn’t get this to work on BT’s mailserver but I assume it gives you the first part of a message)
DELE [message number] deletes the message permanently

And when you’re done:


You can also send email via telnet