The Memory Trap

Andrea Goldsmith

The Memory Trap
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The Memory Trap

Andrea Goldsmith

Winner of the Melbourne Prize Best Writing Award 2015

Nina Jameson, an international consultant on memorial projects based in London, has been happily married to Daniel for twelve years. When her her life falls apart she accepts a job in her hometown of Melbourne. There she joins her sister, Zoe, embroiled in her own problems with Elliot, an American biographer of literary women. And she finds herself caught up in age-old conflicts of two friends from her past: the celebrated pianist Ramsay Blake and his younger brother, Sean.

All these people have been treading memory′s thin ice for far too long. Nina arrives home to find work, loves and entrenched obsessions under threat.

A rich and compelling story of marriage, music, the illusions of love and the deceits of memory, The Memory Trap′s characters are real, flawed and touchingly human.


It’s been three years since Andrea Goldsmith’s Reunion, a big, bold work. In both Reunion and her new novel, The Memory Trap, relationships, family, ambition, lust and goodness come together to make a magnificent story.

Nina, a consultant on memorial projects, returns to Melbourne after many years of absence and a broken marriage. She’s ostensibly come for a job, but also to be with her sister, Zoe, and her return rekindles old memories and friendships. Zoe’s marriage to Elliot, a biographer, is overshadowed by her obsessive devotion to a childhood friend, Ramsay, who has now become a world-renowned pianist. Ramsay is a charismatic genius, yet totally self-obsessed and emotionally selfish. His influence on Zoe and his brother Sean has been pervasive and destructive, not only to them but also, indirectly, to the people close to them.

The novel’s trajectory follows the lives of Nina, Zoe, Sean and Ramsay and the ultimate resolution of their respective relationships, or, at least, the beginning of a resolution. This is a wonderful and engrossing novel, and much of this is due to Goldsmith’s ability to sketch wonderful characters – they say and do things that you know probably don’t happen in real life, but that you can imagine yourself or somebody else doing if you or they were bold enough, selfish enough or good enough. I loved this book, and the people in it.

Mark Rubbo is the Managing Director of Readings

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