BY THE WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE 2021
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORWELL PRIZE FOR POLITICAL FICTION 2021
LONGLISTED FOR THE WALTER SCOTT PRIZE 2021
‘Riveting and heartbreaking … A compelling novel, one that gathers close all those who were meant to be forgotten, and refuses their erasure’ Maaza Mengiste, Guardian
‘A brilliant and important book for our times, by a wondrous writer’ Philippe Sands, New Statesman, Books of the Year
While he was still a little boy, Ilyas was stolen from his parents by the German colonial troops. After years away, fighting in a war against his own people, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away.
Another young man returns at the same time. Hamza was not stolen for the war, but sold into it; he has grown up at the right hand of an officer whose protection has marked him life. With nothing but the clothes on his back, he seeks only work and security – and the love of the beautiful Afiya.
As fate knots these young people together, as they live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war on another continent lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away…
‘One of the world’s most prominent postcolonial writers … He has consistently and with great compassion penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals’ Anders Olsson, chairman of the Nobel Committee
‘In book after book, he guides us through seismic historic moments and devastating societal ruptures while gently outlining what it is that keeps those families, friendships and loving spaces intact, if not fully whole’ Maaza Mengiste
‘Rarely in a lifetime can you open a book and find that reading it encapsulates the enchanting qualities of a love affair … One scarcely dares breathe while reading it for fear of breaking the enchantment’ The Times
An aural archive of a lost Africa ... alive with the unexpected. In it, an obliterated world is enthrallingly retrieved * Sunday Times * From the first assured pages of Afterlives, a book of quiet beauty and tragedy, it is clear one is in the hands of a master storyteller * Financial Times * A tender account of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives, Afterlives combines entrancing storytelling with writing whose exquisite emotional precision confirms Gurnah's place among the outstanding stylists of modern English prose. Like its predecessors, this is a novel that demands to be read and reread, for its humour, generosity of spirit and clear-sighted vision of the infinite contradictions of human nature * Evening Standard * Riveting and heartbreaking ... A compelling novel, one that gathers close all those who were meant to be forgotten, and refuses their erasure. -- Maaza Mengiste * Guardian * In clean, measured prose, Gurnah zooms in on individual acts of violence ... and unexpected acts of kindness. Affecting in its ordinariness, Afterlives is a compelling exploration of the urge to find places of sanctuary * Daily Telegraph * A remarkable novel, by a wondrous writer, deeply compelling, a thread that links our humanity with the colonial legacy that lies beneath, in ways that cut deep -- Philippe Sands To read Afterlives is to be returned to the joy of storytelling as Abdulrazak Gurnah takes us to the place where imagined lives collide with history. In prose as clear and as rhythmic as the waters of the Indian Ocean, the story of Hamza and Afiya is one of simple lives buffeted by colonial ambitions, of the courage it takes to endure, to hold oneself with dignity, and to live with hope in the heart -- Aminatta Forna Effortlessly compelling storytelling ... Gurnah excels at depicting the lives of those made small by cruelty and injustice ... A beautiful, cruel world of bittersweet encounters and pockets of compassion, twists of fate and fluctuating fortunes ... You forget that you are reading fiction, it feels so real -- Leila Aboulela Gurnah is a master storyteller -- Aminatta Forna * Financial Times * As beautifully written and pleasurable as anything I've read ... The work of a maestro * Guardian * Rarely in a lifetime can you open a book and find that reading it encapsulates the enchanting qualities of a love affair ... one scarcely dares breathe while reading it for fear of breaking the enchantment * The Times * Many layered, violent, beautiful and strange ... a poetic and vividly conjured book about Africa and the brooding power of the unknown * Independent on Sunday * A powerfully evocative oeuvre that keeps coming back to the same questions, in spare, graceful prose, about the ties that bind and the ties that fray * Daily Telegraph * A vibrant and vivid novel which shows human beings in all their generosity and greed, pettiness and nobility, so that even minor characters seem capable of carrying entire novels all by themselves * Herald * Abdulrazak Gurnah is a master of his craft ... An intricate, delicate novel, vitally necessary * New Internationalist *
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