This disappointing second novel from the author of Memory of Departure never quite gets off the ground, although the language is simple and appealing. The setting is precolonial north Africa. At the age of 12, Yusuf is taken away from his home by Aziz, a rich merchant, in payment for a debt of his father's. During their travels many men grow ill, and there are the expected hardships of life on the road with a caravan.

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Jan 15th, by mary. A delightful story loaded with important social and political observations. A finalist in 4 for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award, Paradise hides major themes and ideas within the seemingly simple story of Yusuf, a twelve-year-old boy in rural East Africa whose father sells him to a trader to settle a debt.

East Africa is in turmoil—on the verge of World War I and the fighting which eventually develops between the Germans in Tanzania and the British in Kenya.

Cities are growing, populations are moving, merchants are trading and selling, and colonialists from many countries are vying for influence.

Just as Yusuf must come of age, so also must the country as the various groups contending for influence make choices about how much they will accept, reject, or adapt to outside influences. As Yusuf comes into contact with tribal chieftains, Muslim traders, Indian shopkeepers, and German empire builders, the reader observes the impact of all of these groups both within Yusuf and within the loose, artificial borders of Tanzania.

Creating vivid images primarily through his selection of the perfect detail, Gurnah uses simple, poetic language to tell a delightful story loaded with important social and political observations, conveying clearly and objectively the historical background of the country in which the author was born.

Dialogue is often filled with humor, and Yusuf becomes a real person, not a cardboard symbol. A novel which begins as a beautifully realized coming-of-age story develops into a story of high adventure, social and political realism, and eventually love. Feed on Posts Comments. Coming-of-age, Exploration, Historical, Literary. Written by: Abdulrazak Gurnah. Published by: The New Press. Available in: Paperback Hardcover.


Author Abdulrazak Gurnah channels personal anguish into new book, Gravel Heart

Paradise is a historical novel by Abdulrazak Gurnah. The novel follows the story of Yusuf, a boy born in the fictional town of Kawa in Tanzania at the turn of the Twentieth century. Yusuf's father is a hotelier and is in debt to a rich and powerful Arab merchant named Aziz. Early in the story Yusuf is pawned in exchange for his father's owed debt to Aziz and must work as an unpaid servant for the merchant. Yusuf joins Aziz's caravan as they travel into parts of Central Africa and the Congo Basin that have hitherto not been traded with for many generations. Here, Aziz's caravan of traders meets hostility from local tribes, wild animals and difficult terrain. In Aziz's easterly journey to the Congo, Jacobs says that Gurnah is challenging the dominant Western images of the Congo at the turn of the twentieth century that continue to pervade the popular imagination.


Abdulrazak Gurnah's 'paradise'

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Born in East Africa, Yusuf has few qualms about the journey he is to make. It never occurs to him to ask why he is accompanying Uncle Aziz or why the trip has been organised so suddenly, and he does not think to ask when he will be returning.

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