BY THE SEA ABDULRAZAK GURNAH PDF

Dense, accomplished and sharply conceived, this novel by Anglo-African writer Gurnah Paradise ; Admiring Silence tells the story of year-old Saleh Omar, a merchant refugee from Zanzibar who applies for asylum in England. A present-day Sinbad, Omar is fleeing a land where the evil jinn are the larcenous rulers equipped with all the accoutrements of contemporary authoritarianism—concentration camps, rifles, kangaroo courts, etc. Upon arrival at Gatwick Airport, Omar presents an invalid visa, made out to his distant cousin and most hated enemy, Rajab Shaaban Mahmud. Advised not to demonstrate that he knows English, he puts on a charade of incomprehension for his caseworker, Rachel Howard, until uncomfortable circumstances force him to speak. Inevitably, the two men get together in a little seaside English town. Latif long ago cut off all relations with his Zanzibar family, having taken refuge in England in the '60s and gone on to become an English professor and poet, and a rather lonely single man.

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Dense, accomplished and sharply conceived, this novel by Anglo-African writer Gurnah Paradise ; Admiring Silence tells the story of year-old Saleh Omar, a merchant refugee from Zanzibar who applies for asylum in England. A present-day Sinbad, Omar is fleeing a land where the evil jinn are the larcenous rulers equipped with all the accoutrements of contemporary authoritarianism—concentration camps, rifles, kangaroo courts, etc. Upon arrival at Gatwick Airport, Omar presents an invalid visa, made out to his distant cousin and most hated enemy, Rajab Shaaban Mahmud.

Advised not to demonstrate that he knows English, he puts on a charade of incomprehension for his caseworker, Rachel Howard, until uncomfortable circumstances force him to speak. Inevitably, the two men get together in a little seaside English town. Latif long ago cut off all relations with his Zanzibar family, having taken refuge in England in the '60s and gone on to become an English professor and poet, and a rather lonely single man. Saleh, he learns, has been pursued vindictively by Rajab and his wife, Asha, the mistress of a powerful minister.

Due to recriminations over an inherited property, Saleh was eventually dispossessed of his house, arrested and imprisoned in various camps. Getting out, he starts over, only to be threatened by Latif's brother, Hassan. Gurnah's novel is a painful, unapologetically literate probe into the tragedy of the postcolonial world, where refugees are always emerging, "stunned, into the light of yet another gathering shambles.

Forecast: Paradise was short-listed for the Booker Prize, which should draw some critical attention to Gurnah's latest, though sales will likely be strongest at university bookstores.

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By the Sea

Latif Mahmud sat leaning back, his gaunt face tight in a grimace of fortitude, his lips pressed together and widened into the beginning of a grotesque smile. The room was now in the lingering dusk of an English summer evening, a light which at first made me anxious and irresolute but which I was learning to tolerate. I was learning to resist drawing the curtains and flooding the room with light, just so as to expel the gloom of that slow leaden onset of night. I thought I should rise and make some more tea, put the light on in the kitchen, break the grip of the silence in which we had been sitting then for a few minutes. But as soon as I stirred, Latif Mahmud uncrossed his legs and leaned forward.

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Review: By the Sea

Patrick Erouart-Siad. On the East Coat of Africa, monsoon winds carry boats out from the countries of the Persian Gulf and back from the ports of the Mozambique Canal. This is the "Land of Zanj," as the Muslim merchants call Zanzibar—in Arabic, "the country of the blacks. It is an old, old land, known at the beginning of the third millennium BC by the Pharaohs of Egypt and rediscovered by Greek sailors searching for the mysterious "Land of Punt," where abound gold, spices, ostrich feathers, and the ivory of fabulous wild beasts. It's a land where Bantu roots and Islam have intertwined since the tenth century. Even when the winds of history push them toward other, less hospitable shores—England, or the old, Marxist East Germany—Gurnah's characters are still the embodiment of mythic Zanzibar.

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