by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing; 1st edition (8 July 2002)
Language : English
Paperback : 256 pages
ISBN-10 : 9780747557852
ISBN-13 : 978-0747557852
On a late November afternoon, Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport from Zanzibar, a far away island in the Indian Ocean. With him, he has a small bag in which lies his most precious possession – a mahogany box containing incense. He used to own a furniture shop, have a house and be a husband and father. Now he is an asylum seeker from paradise; silence his only protection. Meanwhile, Latif Mahmud, someone intimately connected with Saleh’s In the late afternoon of November 23rd, Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport with a small bag in which lies a mahogany box containing incense – and little else. He used to own a furniture shop, his own house, and be a husband and father. Now he is an asylum seeker from paradise, claiming silence as his only protection.
Meanwhile, Latif Mahmud, poet and professor, voluntary refugee, lives quietly, alone in his London flat, bitter about the country and family he has never revisited.
The paradise both these men have left is Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean swept by the winds of the Musim, bringing traders with their perfumes and spices and a unique mix of cultures and histories. When Saleh and Latif meet in a small English seaside town, a story of long ago begins to unravel – a story of seduction and deception, of the haphazard displacement of people, a story of love and betrayal and, above all, of possession. And as the story unfolds, we see a country exploding into postcolonial independence, reeling in its attempt to find stability while its people are caught in the maelstrom of their times.
About the author
Abdulrazak Gurnah (born 20 December 1948) is a Tanzanian-born British novelist and academic. He was born in the Sultanate of Zanzibar and moved to the United Kingdom in the 1960s as a refugee during the Zanzibar Revolution. His novels include Paradise (1994), which was shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize; Desertion (2005); and By the Sea (2001), which was longlisted for the Booker and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Gurnah was awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fates of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents.” He is an Emeritus professor of English and postcolonial literatures at the University of Kent. – Wikipedia