efface i-ˈfās , e- verb
1. remove by or as if by rubbing or erasing
2. remove completely from recognition or memory
3. make inconspicuous
The word efface has appeared in three articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on March 8 in the book review “A First Novel Explores Zimbabwe’s Troubled History” by Dinaw Mengestu:
Zamani, the narrator of Novuyo Rosa Tshuma’s remarkable first novel, “House of Stone,” has a troubled relationship with the past. For him there is history, and then there is “hi-story,” a subtle but important distinction for a man who wants more than the incomplete, fragmentary tale his uncle passed on to him before dying.
… It’s a remarkable feat. Through Zamani, Tshuma shows us how much work it takes to efface the past, and, through “House of Stone,” she proves that those efforts are no match for a novel as ambitious and ingenious as this one.