ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2022
A NEW YORKER “ESSENTIAL READ”
A NATIONAL BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, TIME, THE NEW YORKER, BOOKPAGE, AND KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Superb. . . . A celebration of a place and time when people held onto their own ways, and basked in ordinary joys even as outside forces conspired to take them away.” —New York Times
From the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature, a sweeping, multi-generational saga of displacement, loss, and love, set against the brutal colonization of east Africa.
When he was just a boy, Ilyas was stolen from his parents on the coast of east Africa by German colonial troops. After years away, fighting against his own people, he returns home to find his parents gone and his sister, Afiya, abandoned into de facto slavery. Hamza, too, returns home from the war, scarred in body and soul and with nothing but the clothes on his back –until he meets the beautiful, undaunted Afiya. As these young people live and work and fall in love, their fates knotted ever more tightly together, the shadow of a new war on another continent falls over them, threatening once again to carry them away.
Abdulrazak Gurnah is the 2021 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is the author of nine previous novels, including Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize), By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), and Desertion. Born and raised in Zanzibar, he is Professor Emeritus of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent; he lives in Canterbury, England.
Praise for Afterlives
“Superb. . . . Afterlives is a celebration of a place and time when people held onto their own ways, and basked in ordinary joys even as outside forces conspired to take them away. . . . [Gurnah] is a novelist nonpareil, a master of the art form who understands human failings in conflicts both political and intimate — and how these shortcomings create afflictions from which nations and individuals continue to suffer, needlessly, generation after generation.” –New York Times Book Review
“At once a globe-spanning epic of European colonialism and an intimate look at village life in one of the many overlooked corners of the Earth. Both parts — reclamations of history and heart — are equally revelatory. . . . Gurnah’s greatest act of love and artistry [is] his ability to gather the fragments of broken lives and create a breathtaking mosaic in print.” —The Washington Post
“An appreciation for quiet, ordinary forms of heroism runs throughout. . . . One can take away lessons and meanings from this novel, yet such things are perhaps less significant than the sheer seeming realness of the characters, whose presences Mr. Gurnah has faithfully crafted into existence, with all of their dreaming, their sorrow and their resilience.” —Wall Street Journal
“A rich, detailed tapestry. . . . three separate storylines tangle together to probe the violence of European colonialism.” — TIME
” Afterlives follows its long arc to a point where reclamation is possible, where recognition of full personhood can once again be restored. . . . [Gurnah] constructs his latest magnificent novel so clearly and carefully that when his very last lines bring us back to love and kindness, we’re ready to pay attention.” —Los Angeles Times
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