Abdulrazak Gurnah: Gravel Heart

The latest addition to my website is Abdulrazak Gurnah‘s Gravel Heart. Salim is a Tanzanian, living in Zanzibar. He lives with his parents but, when he is seven, his father moves out and lives in a small room. He also leaves his job at the water company and works at a market stall. Salim naturally does not know why this has happened. Part of the book is the explanation of why the father moved out. However, though the father explains all to Salim at the end of the book, we have more or less learned well before this the reason and the big revelation is not a big revelation but merely a filling in of details. In between we follow Salim’s life, first in Zanzibar and then in London and, finally, his return to Zanzibar to hear all from his father. It is an enjoyable enough book, following Salim’s life, but given that the big revelation occurred about half way through it is not terribly exciting as we follow his fairly mundane love, social and professional life.

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