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   By the Sea

By the Sea

Author: Gurnah, Abdulrazak Set In . . .
 Africa, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Europe, England
Genre: Fiction
Time Frame: 1990s
Published: 2002
Description: From the East African author of Paradise, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, a spellbinding novel of seduction and betrayal.

"Refugee," I said, pointing at my chest. "Asylum."

When Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport late one afternoon, he has a badly faked passport and exhibits no knowledge of English beyond these two words. He was once a furniture shop owner, a husband, and a father. Now he has arrived in England seeking asylum from his native Zanzibar, using silence and claiming ignorance as his only protection. Meanwhile, Latif Mahmud, a poet and professor, lives quietly alone in his London flat, bitter about the country and family he has left behind and never revisited. When the two men meet in a small English seaside town, there begins the unraveling of a feud from long ago—a story of seduction and deception, of the haphazard displacement of people. This is a profoundly moving and eloquent look into the minds of two immigrants, two "others," who have left one home by the sea and gone halfway around the world to take up residence in another. Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose novel Paradise was short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize, has created a stunning and elegiac look at a world where imperialism opens boundaries—only to close off borders.

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