African Literature: By the Sea, by Abdulrazak Gurnah

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  • Sunday, 26 April 2015 19:40
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The story of two interweaving narratives told by Saleh Omar and Latif Mahmud who find themselves meeting thirty five years later in Gatwick England can enthral and take the reader into the world in which the characters exist. The once prosperous Omar who owned a furniture shop in Zanzibar now finds himself living the life of a refugee in Gatwick.

The story of two interweaving narratives told by Saleh Omar and Latif Mahmud who find themselves meeting thirty five years later in Gatwick England can enthral and take the reader into the world in which the characters exist. The once prosperous Omar who owned a furniture shop in Zanzibar now finds himself living the life of a refugee in Gatwick. While a young and ambitious Mahmud from Zanzibar seeking out a better future in Europe is a still and lonesome academic. By the Sea delves into the history the characters lives during their life in Zanzibar and finds a family feud, suppression as well as strong religious ties which between Omar and Mahmud either lose or keep for their own good sense and sanity. Gurnah skilfully deals with history in this novel as one sees how Mahmud chooses to remember his past and how he identifies himself in the foreign land which he has now made his abode. Furthermore Gurnah masterfully entwines the history of the East African Coast bringing to life the Cosmopolitan Indian Ocean, along with long distance linkage of Islam over the ocean that stalwartly existed prior to colonialism.

This is Abdulrazak Gurnah’s sixth novel and is one of the finest contemporary African writers to date.

 

Review by: Astrid, Images: Africanlife

 

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lauren

Lauren, a professional communications expert from South Africa, loves to learn new languages and cultures. She is always willing to share her expertise on the African culture and lifestyles. Through her social interactions with others, she decided her own social projects in her homeland to launch Africa.



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