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Through Their Eyes

Theo Tait: Abdulrazak Gurnah remembers Zanzibar, 7 July 2005

by Abdulrazak Gurnah.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £16.99, May 2005, 0 7475 7756 0
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... Abdulrazak Gurnah left Zanzibar a few years after the violent revolution of 1964, when the constitutional sultanate installed by the departing British was overthrown. It was a time, in Gurnah’s words, of ‘state terror and calculated humiliations’: as many as 17,000 people were killed, the Omani-descended ruling elite was expelled, and thousands were imprisoned; the Revolutionary Council nationalised the clove plantations and trading companies, bringing the economy to a standstill ...

Looking after men

Nicholas Spice, 9 July 1987

The Present Moment 
by Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye.
Heinemann, 155 pp., £9.95, July 1987, 0 434 44027 2
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Memory of Departure 
by Abdulrazak Gurnah.
Cape, 159 pp., £9.95, April 1987, 0 224 02432 9
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You can’t get lost in Cape Town 
by Zöe Wicomb.
Virago, 184 pp., £3.95, May 1987, 0 86068 820 8
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... what African history and African life feel like from the inside. Both Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye and Abdulrazak Gurnah, writing about East Africa, succeed in giving us the feel of the inside, and their novels materially increase our knowledge of East African life and history. Moreover, they prove the point that having something to say is more important than ...

Tunnel Visions

Philip Horne, 4 August 1988

The Tunnel 
by Ernesto Sabato, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Cape, 138 pp., £10.95, June 1988, 0 224 02578 3
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Pilgrims Way 
by Abdulrazak Gurnah.
Cape, 232 pp., £11.95, June 1988, 0 224 02562 7
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States of Emergency 
by André Brink.
Faber, 248 pp., £9.95, May 1988, 0 571 15118 3
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Moonrise, Moonset 
by Tadeusz Konwicki, translated by Richard Lourie.
Faber, 344 pp., £11.95, May 1988, 0 571 13609 5
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... forty years for a translation to be published in England. The love-affair in Pilgrims Way, by Abdulrazak Gurnah, who teaches literature at the University of Kent, comes under threat from the deeply-inscribed complexes of its hero: but he’s not actually mad, and love puts him back on his hinges, communicating again with the outside world. Daud’s ...

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