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. By the Sea [Abdulrazak Gurnah] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. On a late November afternoon Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport. By the Sea [Abdulrazak Gurnah] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. In the late afternoon of November 23rd, Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick.

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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 sex authoritarianism concentration camps, rifles, kangaroo thr, 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.

Gjrnah to recriminations gurnahh 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 gyrnah of yet another gathering shambles. 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.

Copyright Reed Business Information, Sa. Zanzibar author Gurnah, whose novel Paradise was a finalist for the Booker Prize, here illustrates the destructiveness of pride and the divergence of memory and truth.

When Saleh Omar arrives in England from Zanzibar as a refugee, he hopes that he can leave behind his old life, marred by prison, death, and ruin.

Instead, he encounters Latif, whose family’s feud with Saleh destroyed nearly everyone involved. The two men’s stories unwind slowly and gracefully, bringing the reader into a darkened room with the two old foes as they call forth ghosts, ugrnah to discover that the truth is often harder to believe than lies.

Gurnah treats his characters like old friends, accepting their faults to see the dignity beneath. His portrayal of everyday immigrant life and gurnh Muslim piety makes this a gentle, enjoyable read. Recommended for public burnah. Ellen Flexman, Indianapolis-Marion Cty. Would sda like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?


In the late afternoon of November 23rd, Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport with a small bag in which lies a mahogany box containing incense – and little else.

He used to own a furniture shop, his own house, and be a husband and father. Now he is an asylum seeker from paradise, claiming silence as his only protection. Meanwhile, Latif Mahmud, poet and professor, voluntary refugee, lives quietly, alone in his London flat, bitter about the country and family he has never revisited.

The paradise both these men have left is Zanzibar, an island in the Indian Ocean swept by the winds of the Musim, bringing traders with their perfumes and spices and a unique mix of cultures and histories. When Saleh and Latif meet in a small English seaside town, a story of long ago begins to unravel – a story of seduction and deception, of the haphazard displacement of people, a story of love and betrayal and above all of possession.

And as the story unfolds, we see a country exploding into postcolonial independence, reeling in its attempt to find stability while its people are caught in the maelstrom of their times. Read more Read less. Discover Prime Book Box for Kids. Customers who viewed this item also viewed.

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By the Sea

From Publishers Weekly 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.

The New Press June 1, Language: I’d like to read this book on Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 3 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Abdulrazak Gurnah has a compelling style of writing with which he envelopes his reader with language of great beauty and story telling of great power.

The challenge to the reader is to hold multiple developments and locales in their head and sift through ” truths” as thw by the two main protagonists until resolution finally emerges.

At the book’s core are all the human frailties – among them greed, deceit, betrayal, oppression – and all our best hopes – love, learning, friendship, faith and literature. Gurnah strips his characters to the essentials, removing their family, possessions and homes, cutting guurnah to the bare bones of identity and relationship. Ultimately he shows us that when ordinary people are allowed or find a way even in repressive political systems to relate to one another as individuals, they bring light to an otherwise sad and frightening world.

I cannot imagine why this thoughtful and beautifully constructed novel by an author of immense talent is so little known and so little praised. It’s a very strong book, filled with sensual images, subtle feelings, vibrant scenes, carefully plotted intrigue, and clear messages. Its scenes of family life and strife in Zanzibar, contrasted with the “civilized,” bureaucratic, and officious behavior of the British at home and abroad, establish strong contrasts and illuminate the themes.


The book begins as a leisurely portrait of two lonely immigrants to England from Zanzibar, one of them a distinguished young professor and the other bg year-old asylum seeker who has just arrived, pretending he understands no English. As the points of view shift back and forth between the two men in succeeding sections of the novel, we come to know each man well–his life, his aspirations in Zanzibar, his extended family, the family’s business connections there, and ultimately, the how and why of each man’s emigration to England.

Coming from two different turnah, each man has a different view of his former country, the older man having spent most of his life there, escaping to England when ny other hope is gone, and the younger having left as a young student, but still longing for the connections he left behind.

Powerful ironies drive the action. Each man knows who the other is, or was, in Zanzibar, and each believes that the other’s family has brought about his own family’s downfall there. As the two men tentatively explore the past and the old man reveals information the young man could never have known, the pace quickens until the past and the present merge and each of the men discovers hidden truths and new strengths.

This is passionate book of clear vision, a book which recognizes harsh truths and still remains compassionate. He treats us to a glimps of the inner psychology of his characters.

I read it years ago but still hear it’s quite refrains. It has tremendous staying power. See all 3 reviews.

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By the Sea: Abdulrazak Gurnah: : Books

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