314pp., map, illus., paperback, Reprint, London, (2018) 2019
Winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2019.
Aida Edemariam retells her grandmother's life story. Yetemegnu was born a hundred years ago in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar. Before she was ten years old she was married to a poet-priest two decades her senior. Over the next century she witnessed Fascist invasion and occupation, Allied bombardment and exile, the ascent and fall of Emperor Haile Selassie, revolution and civil war.
"The Wife's Tale is the extraordinary memoir of a woman who lived through the cataclysmic events that shaped modern Ethiopian history. The narrative, which is lovingly and expertly put together by her granddaughter, is a window into a world that would otherwise be invisible to us." Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone
"The book elegantly collapses the distance between the vast and the intimate, showing how history reaches even the most sheltered." New Yorker
"Edemariam's book offers a glimpse into a singularly fascinating culture and history as it celebrates the courage, resilience, and grace of an extraordinary woman. A richly evocative tale of family and international history." Kirkus Reviews
Aida Edemariam, of dual Ethiopian and Canadian heritage, grew up in Addis Ababa. She is currently a senior feature writer and editor for the Guardian. She lives in Oxford.