Union of South Africa, 1937: Louise Ahrendts, daughter of a shipbuilder, nurtures the idea that through hard work, she could step beyond a destiny of domestic service. When the Second World War breaks out and the port becomes a hub of activity, Louise's path crosses with that of Lieutenant David Horrocks. Despite the gulf in their backgrounds, Louise and David are determined to be together. But as the end of the war approaches, will they find their way back to each other?
Memory, the narrator of The Book of Memory, is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder. As part of her appeal her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been convicted for the murder of her adoptive father. But did everything happen exactly as she remembers?