Abdulrazak Gurnah: Afterlives

The latest addition to my website is Abdulrazak Gurnah‘s Afterlives. The novel tells the story of the country that will become Tanzania from the beginning of the 20th century (when it was under German control) to independence in 1961. The focus, however, is on the story of a few individuals when the country was under German control. These are ordinary people struggling to make a living in an unnamed town, though, with one exception, they are not overly affected by the German occupation. Khalifa works as a clerk and marries the boss’s niece. Ilyas is very pro-German,as a German officer helped him when he was being brutalised by an askari. Afriya, his younger sister is ill-treated by her relatives when her parents die. Hamza joins up to fight for the Germans in World War I and sees and is a victim of a lot of brutality but survives. While condemning the Germans for their cruelty, he is also critical of the British. He tells a first-class story while showing us the political situation in his country over some sixty years.

Leave a Reply