Leaving Zanzibar after the 1964 revolution, Abdulrazak Gurnah became a professor of English and postcolonial literature in England, and in 2021 was awarded the Nobel Prize. His evocative fiction explores the loneliness of exile, the fate of the refugee, and the effects of colonialism.
Hassan Omar is a gifted young man with a potentially bright future, though impeded by poverty. In the wake of a national uprising and a new government, he is denied a scholarship to a university abroad and deprived of the opportunity to study further. In this 1987 debut novel by Abdulrazak Gurnah, Hassan travels to Nairobi to stay with a wealthy uncle, in the hope that he will release his mother's rightful share of the family inheritance, but instead endures a collision of past secrets and future hopes, compounded by fear and frustration, beauty and brutality.