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BY THE WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE 2021
‘One of Africa’s greatest living writers’ Giles Foden
‘A remarkable novel, by a wondrous writer’ Philippe Sands
‘To read Afterlives is to be returned to the joy of storytelling’ Aminatta Forna
‘Effortlessly compelling storytelling … You forget that you are reading fiction, it feels so real’ Leila Aboulela
Restless, ambitious Ilyas was stolen from his parents by the Schutzruppe askari, the German colonial troops; after years away, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away.
Hamza was not stolen, but was sold; he has come of age in the army, at the right hand of an officer whose control has ensured his protection but marked him for life. Hamza does not have words for how the war ended for him. Returning to the town of his childhood, all he wants is work, however humble, and security – and the beautiful Afiya.
The century is young. The Germans and the British and the French and the Belgians and whoever else have drawn their maps and signed their treaties and divided up Africa. As they seek complete dominion they are forced to extinguish revolt after revolt by the colonised. The conflict in Europe opens another arena in east Africa where a brutal war devastates the landscape.
As these interlinked friends and survivors come and go, live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away.
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 * 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 * 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 * An aural archive of a lost Africa ... alive with the unexpected. In it, an obliterated world is enthrallingly retrieved * Sunday Times * 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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