This is a novel of discovery, revelation, and guilt. I recommend it in the way that I recommend Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih: the novels are profound but elusive. They reveal the pain of dislocation; in the guise of immigrant stories they demonstrate how difficult it is to explain self, to be loyal to memory, and to discern what elements of shared existence really matter. Abbas is from a small village on Zanzibar who flees an awkward situation, but we do not know that until half way into the novel. Maryam is a foundling, fostered by an Indian couple who start to treat her as a servant. They meet and start a life with daughter Hannah and son Jamal. But who are these people, and does the past really define them?
You can search previous pages to find my comments on other of Gurnah’s novels, and I am now starting to think that he writes them to explain himself, to his readers and to himself. Many TEAArs taught on the coast,. and I think that you especially will enjoy Gurnah’s novels and perhaps deliberate on some level what will be your last gift (cf, the ending to Ellison’s Invisible Man).
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury; 1 edition (31 May 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781408815182
- ISBN-13: 978-1408815182
- ASIN: 1408815184
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 23.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 381 g
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