An ongoing series in partnership with Faith Adiele. August's book selection is Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah. How to participate: Get a copy of the book, read it in advance of the meeting, and then discuss the book with a group of people interested in reading African Literature online via zoom on Sunday August 28th at 5pm (PDT). After you register you will receive information to join via zoom. If you don’t see an email from MoAD, check your spam or junk mail box.
You can view a list of all the books previously read and discussed in African Book Club, and if you order through bookshop, MoAD will receive a percentage of the sale: https://bookshop.org/lists/african-book-club
From the Nobel Prize winner, a coming-of-age story that illuminates the harshness and beauty of an Africa on the brink of colonization
"[Gurnah’s novels] recoil from stereotypical descriptions and open our gaze to a culturally diversified East Africa unfamiliar to many in other parts of the world." —Nobel Committee for Literature at the Swedish Academy
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award, Paradise was characterized by the Nobel Prize committee as Abdulrazak Gurnah’s “breakthrough” work. It is at once the chronicle of an African boy’s coming-of-age, a tragic love story, and a tale of the corruption of African tradition by European colonialism.
Sold by his father in repayment of a debt, twelve-year-old Yusuf is thrown from his simple rural life into complexities of pre-colonial urban East Africa. Through Yusuf’s eyes, Gurnah depicts communities at war, trading safaris gone awry, and the universal trials of adolescence. The result is what Publishers Weekly calls a “vibrant” and “powerful” work that “evokes the Edenic natural beauty of a continent on the verge of full-scale imperialist takeover.”
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar and lives in England, where he teaches at the University of Kent. The most famous of his novels are Paradise, shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize; By the Sea, longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Desertion, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2021 "for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents."