What if forbidden love was all there was? Like a strange and unusual guest that lodges in the heart? Would you defy everything you knew and fight for it?
What if you could remember everything that ever happened to you since the day you were born? The moments and the minutes, the sorrow and the secrets? Would you want to?
What if there were boundaries that kept pushing you back, keeping you small and unnoticed? Would you be brave enough to rewrite the story and alter the course of your destiny?
So what if I’m dead? I still have my stories. My secrets.
I need you to listen closely.
Close your eyes. Go on. Hear that?
That’s the sound of life passing you by.
Step by step.
Breath by breath.
Beat by beat.
Yes, I’m a revolutionary, but also a romantic.
Bastian has loved me since he was a boy.
But then there were just so many odds against us; so many things unspoken.
Besides, how does he even hope to win me over when there is just so much loss between us?
They call me Khadeejathree, okay, because I am one of three wives all named Khadeeja.
But really, that is only half of my story.
I raised the young Bastian at his childhood home, Goedleven Farm in Stellenbosch.
I taught him everything he knows about the finer things in life – grapefruit, grief and God.
Or am I?
Bastian has always been such a good boy, although, well, there were a few incidents along the way that I don’t really want to talk about.
I wish some things had been different.
There were times I wish I had been different. But who’s to say that any of it would have mattered?
Now pass the gin and tonic.
The only thing you need to know, my friend,
is that I am a handsome fellah.
People tend to think I’m all about the brains. Let me assure you, I’m all about the babes.
And look here, don’t believe anything Bastian says about me. He talks a lot (but then, he knows a lot too).
It’s simple: Bastian needs to be crushed. Like a bug.
The kind that leaves a mess.
I mean, if you knew what that boy did!
Dragging his reputation at his heels,
putting us all to shame.
I mean, who does Bastian Bredenkamp think he is, anyway? I’ll see you in court.
'Part historical fiction, part magical realism, Suitcase of Memory explores the relationship between memory and history, love and power, and justice and the law. This is not only one of my favourite novels of 2021; this is one of my favourite novels of the 21st century. Kassiem is an exceptional storyteller…'
'A delicately wrought novel that cuts into the fabric of South Africa’s dark history. Utterly compelling and riveting.'
'I was charmed by the magic realism, moved by the fate of the characters and, in the end, buoyed by their indomitable spirits. Suitcase of Memory is a novel of laughter and tears, anger and amazement that lives on beyond the last page.'
'A jewel of a debut … Kassiem’s voice is fresh, intelligent, compassionate and sophisticated.'
'An exceptional novel that pulls the reader into a life where everything is not as it seems…'
'Unputdownable… woven together with expressions of love, times of tragedy and moments that will require you to stop and catch your breath.'
'Beautifully written, both funny and heartbreaking, I found it totally engrossing. I hope an international publisher has snapped this one up, it deserves to be widely read.'
'An ambitious work, weaving a tapestry with threads of our past, while delving into themes that are relevant in the present...you can tell it comes from the heart...'
'Intriguing and enjoyable.'
A’Eysha Kassiem is a South African journalist and editor, who has worked in newsrooms both locally and abroad. She has been the News Editor at both the Cape Times and News24. Kassiem has also served as the Editor of Fin24, SA’s largest business site, as well as the international publication, PrintWeek, based in Dubai.