Un matin de 1899, dans une petite ville côtière d'Afrique de l'Est, Hassanali se met en chemin pour la mosquée dont il est le muezzin. Sa marche est interrompue et son destin vacille lorsqu'il croise la route d'un Anglais épuisé qui s'effondre à ses pieds. Cet homme écrivain, voyageur et orientaliste, se lie bientôt avec le muezzin et lui raconte son existence chahutée. Rapidement, et malgré tout ce qui les sépare, l'étranger voyageur va tomber fou d'amour pour la soeur d'Hassanali. De cette passion naîtra une fille, puis une petite-fille qui auront aussi à subir les conséquences de cet amour maudit. De l'Afrique coloniale au Londres des sixties, Abdulrazak Gurnah fait entendre la fragile voix des réprouvés.
"Adieu Zanzibar est l'oeuvre d'un grand maître" The Guardian.
Un soir de novembre 1994, Saleh Omar, soixante-cinq ans, débarque à l'aéroport de Londres, un faux passeport en poche au nom de Mahmud. Dans son ancienne vie, sur l'île de Zanzibar, Saleh possédait une boutique, était marié et père de famille. Aujourd'hui, serrant contre lui un petit sac dans lequel se trouve son bien le plus précieux, une boîte en acajou contenant de l'encens, il demande l'asile à un pays qui ne veut pas de lui.Lorsque le fils du vrai Mahmud apprend que Saleh est en Angleterre, le passé ressurgit brusquement. Confrontés aux clichés que plaquent sur eux les Anglais, les deux hommes se racontent leurs véritables histoires, près d'une autre mer.
«Quand le moment du départ arriva, tout parut irréel à Yusuf. Il dit adieu à sa mère sur le seuil de la maison et suivit son père et son oncle jusqu'à la gare. Il portait son petit ballot contenant deux shorts, une chemise, un Coran et un vieux chapelet de grès. Il ne lui vint pas à l'esprit, ne fût-ce qu'un instant, qu'il serait peut-être séparé de ses parents pour longtemps ou même qu'il ne les reverrait jamais. Il n'avait pas pensé à demander quand il reviendrait ni pourquoi tout avait été décidé si soudainement.» Quand ses parents disent à Yusuf, douze ans, qu'il va partir séjourner quelque temps chez son oncle Aziz, il est enchanté. Prendre le train, découvrir une grande ville, quel bonheur pour un petit Africain qui n'a jamais quitté son village. Il ne comprend évidemment pas que son père l'a vendu, vendu pour rembourser une dette trop lourde et qu'Aziz, de toute façon, n'est pas son oncle, simplement un riche marchand qui a besoin d'un esclave de plus chez lui. À la suite de Yusuf, nous allons découvrir l'Afrique de l'Est au début de ce siècle, les immenses étendues désertiques que traversent de lentes caravanes, une nature splendide et hostile à la fois où le poids d'une vie peut être celui de quelques gouttes d'eau...
LONGLISTED 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.
''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
Born in East Africa, Yusuf has few qualms about the journey he is to make. It never occurs to him to ask why he is accompanying Uncle Aziz or why the trip has been organised so suddenly, and he does not think to ask when he will be returning. But the truth is that his ''uncle'' is a rich and powerful merchant and Yusuf has been pawned to him to pay his father''s debts. Paradise is a rich tapestry of myth, dreams and Biblical and Koranic tradition, the story of a young boy''s coming of age against the backdrop of an Africa increasingly corrupted by colonialism and violence.
One day, long before the troubles, he slipped away without saying a word to anyone and never went back. And then another day, forty three years later, he collapsed just inside the front door of his house in a small English town. It was late in the day when it happened, on his way home after work, but it was also late in the day altogether. He had left things for too long and there was no one to blame for it but himself.
Abbas has never told anyone about his past - before he was a sailor on the high seas, before he met his wife Maryam outside a Boots in Exeter, before they settled into a quiet life in Norwich with their children, Jamal and Hanna. Now, at the age of sixty-three, he suffers a collapse that renders him bedbound and unable to speak about things he thought he would one day have to.
Jamal and Hanna have grown up and gone out into the world. They were both born in England but cannot shake a sense of apartness. Hanna calls herself Anna now, and has just moved to a new city to be near her boyfriend. She feels the relationship is headed somewhere serious, but the words have not yet been spoken out loud. Jamal, the listener of the family, moves into a student house and is captivated by a young woman with dark-blue eyes and her own, complex story to tell. Abbas's illness forces both children home, to the dark silences of their father and the fretful capability of their mother Maryam, who began life as a foundling and has never thought to find herself, until now.
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 there 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 past, lives quietly alone in his London flat. When Saleh and Latif meet in an English seaside town, a story is unravelled. It is a story of love and betrayal, of seduction and of possession, and of a people desperately trying to find stability amidst the maelstrom of their times.>
Moving from revolutionary Zanzibar in the 1960s to restless London in the 1990s, Gravel Heart is a powerful story of exile, migration and betrayal, from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Paradise Salim has always believed that his father does not want him. Living with his parents and his adored Uncle Amir in a house full of secrets, he is a bookish child, a dreamer haunted by night terrors.
It is the 1970s and Zanzibar is changing. Tourists arrive, the island's white sands obscuring the memory of recent conflict: longed-for independence from British colonialism swiftly followed by bloody revolution. When his father moves out, retreating into dishevelled introspection, Salim is confused and ashamed. His mother explains neither this nor her absences with a strange man; silence is layered on silence.
When glamorous Uncle Amir, now a senior diplomat, offers Salim an escape, the lonely teenager travels to London for college. But nothing has prepared him for the biting cold and seething crowds of this hostile city. Struggling to find a foothold, and to understand the darkness at the heart of his family, Salim must face devastating truths about himself and those closest to him - and about love, sex and power.
Evoking the immigrant experience with unsentimental precision and profound insight, Gravel Heart is a powerfully affecting story of isolation, identity, belonging and betrayal, and is Abulrazak Gurnah's most dazzling achievement.
**By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021** ''There is a wonderful sardonic eloquence to this unnamed narrator''s voice'' Financial Times ''I don''t think I''ve ever read a novel that is so convincingly and hauntingly sad about the loss of home'' Independent on Sunday _____________________ He thinks, as he escapes from Zanzibar, that he will probably never return, and yet the dream of studying in England matters above that.
Things do not happen quite as he imagined - the school where he teaches is cramped and violent, he forgets how it feels to belong. But there is Emma, beautiful, rebellious Emma, who turns away from her white, middle-class roots to offer him love and bear him a child. And in return he spins stories of his home and keeps her a secret from his family.
Twenty years later, when the barriers at last come down in Zanzibar, he is able and compelled to go back. What he discovers there, in a story potent with truth, will change the entire vision of his life.>
**By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021** An extraordinary depiction of the life of an immigrant, as he struggles to come to terms with the horror of his past and the meaning of his pilgrimage to England Dear Catherine, he began. Here I sit, making a meal out of asking you to dinner. I don''t really know how to do it. To have cultural integrity, I would have to send my aunt to speak, discreetly, to your aunt, who would then speak to your mother, who would speak to my mother, who would speak to my father, who would speak to me and then approach your mother, who would then approach you.
Demoralised by small persecutions and the squalor and poverty of his life, Daud takes refuge in his imagination. He composes wry, sardonic letters hectoring friends and enemies, and invents a lurid colonial past for every old man he encounters. His greatest solace is cricket and the symbolic defeat of the empire at the hands of the mighty West Indies. Although subject to attacks of bitterness and remorse, his captivating sense of humour never deserts him as he struggles to come to terms with the horror of his past and the meaning of his pilgrimage to England.>
**By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021** Vehement, comic and shrewd, Abdulrazak Gurnah''s first novel is an unwavering contemplation of East African coastal life Poverty and depravity wreak havoc on Hassan Omar''s family. Amid great hardship he decides to escape.
The arrival of Independence brings new upheavals as well as the betrayal of the promise of freedom. The new government, fearful of an exodus of its most able men, discourages young people from travelling abroad and refuses to release examination results. Deprived of a scholarship, Hassan travels to Nairobi to stay with a wealthy uncle, in the hope that he will release his mother''s rightful share of the family inheritance.
The collision of past secrets and future hopes, the compound of fear and frustration, beauty and brutality, create a fierce tale of undeniable power.>
By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021 A searing tale of a young woman discovering her troubled family history and cultural past Dottie Badoura Fatma Balfour finds solace amidst the squalor of her childhood by spinning warm tales of affection about her beautiful names. But she knows nothing of their origins, and little of her family history - or the abuse her ancestors suffered as they made their home in Britain.
At seventeen, she takes on the burden of responsibility for her brother and sister and is obsessed with keeping the family together. However, as Sophie, lumpen yet voluptuous, drifts away, and the confused Hudson is absorbed into the world of crime, Dottie is forced to consider her own needs. Building on her fragmented, tantalising memories, she begins to clear a path through life, gradually gathering the confidence to take risks, to forge friendships and to challenge the labels that have been forced upon her.>
Barack Obama, via Facebook : A compelling story of how the transformative events of history weigh on individual lives and relationships. The Nobel Prizenominated Kenyan writer s best-known novel Set in the wake of the Mau Mau rebellion and on the cusp of Kenya's independence from Britain, A Grain of Wheat follows a group of villagers whose lives have been transformed by the 19521960 Emergency. At the center of it all is the reticent Mugo, the village's chosen hero and a man haunted by a terrible secret. As we learn of the villagers' tangled histories in a narrative interwoven with myth and peppered with allusions to real-life leaders, including Jomo Kenyatta, a masterly story unfolds in which compromises are forced, friendships are betrayed, and loves are tested. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.