By the Sea by Abdulrazak Gurnah

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Synopsis

From the East African author of Paradise, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, a spellbinding novel of seduction and betrayal.

"Refugee," I said, pointing at my chest. "Asylum."

When Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport late one afternoon, he has a badly faked passport and exhibits no knowledge of English beyond these two words. He was once a furniture shop owner, a husband, and a father. Now he has arrived in England seeking asylum from his native Zanzibar, using silence and claiming ignorance as his only protection. Meanwhile, Latif Mahmud, a poet and professor, lives quietly alone in his London flat, bitter about the country and family he has left behind and never revisited. When the two men meet in a small English seaside town, there begins the unraveling of a feud from long ago—a story of seduction and deception, of the haphazard displacement of people. This is a profoundly moving and eloquent look into the minds of two immigrants, two "others," who have left one home by the sea and gone halfway around the world to take up residence in another. Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose novel Paradise was short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize, has created a stunning and elegiac look at a world where imperialism opens boundaries—only to close off borders.

 

About Abdulrazak Gurnah

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Abdulrazak Gurnah teaches at the University of Kent in England.
 
Published January 1, 2001 by Bloomsbury. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for By the Sea

Kirkus Reviews

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When the two men finally remeet, the embittered Latif accuses Omar not only of stealing his father’s name, Rajab Shabaan, but his property.

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The Guardian

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By the Sea Abdulrazak Gurnah Bloomsbury £16.99, pp246 Buy it at a discount at BOL Exlie offers the novelist or poet one of the richest seams of fuel for writing.

May 20 2001 | Read Full Review of By the Sea

Publishers Weekly

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In the meantime, Rachel contacts the English expert on Kiswahili, Latif Mahmud, who just happens to be the real Rajab Shaaban's son.

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Boston Review

He lays on story after story for her, until the strands that connect past and present, magic and real, become thickly—andseductively—meshed.

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