BY THE SEA ABDULRAZAK GURNAH PDF

Dense, accomplished and sharply conceived, this novel by Anglo-African writer Gurnah Paradise ; Admiring Silence tells the story of year-old Saleh Omar, a merchant refugee from Zanzibar who applies for asylum in England. A present-day Sinbad, Omar is fleeing a land where the evil jinn are the larcenous rulers equipped with all the accoutrements of contemporary authoritarianism—concentration camps, rifles, kangaroo courts, etc. Upon arrival at Gatwick Airport, Omar presents an invalid visa, made out to his distant cousin and most hated enemy, Rajab Shaaban Mahmud. Advised not to demonstrate that he knows English, he puts on a charade of incomprehension for his caseworker, Rachel Howard, until uncomfortable circumstances force him to speak.

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Latif Mahmud sat leaning back, his gaunt face tight in a grimace of fortitude, his lips pressed together and widened into the beginning of a grotesque smile. The room was now in the lingering dusk of an English summer evening, a light which at first made me anxious and irresolute but which I was learning to tolerate. I was learning to resist drawing the curtains and flooding the room with light, just so as to expel the gloom of that slow leaden onset of night.

I thought I should rise and make some more tea, put the light on in the kitchen, break the grip of the silence in which we had been sitting then for a few minutes. But as soon as I stirred, Latif Mahmud uncrossed his legs and leaned forward. I waited for him to speak, but he said nothing, and after a moment he sighed and leaned back again, I rose carefully, so that I should not stumble in my weariness and let him think me feeble, and went to the kitchen.

I put the light on and avoided glancing at the cadaverous shadow of a man reflected in the window-panes, avoided the hard-edged sourness which lingered on that face all the time, which lingered there like a deep failing that subterfuge could not disguise.

I drew the curtains with my face turned away, and then stood staring into the sink, trembling uncontrollably, feeble after all, overcome by memories which never seem to dim, overcome with pity for myself and for so many others who had been too feeble after all to resist the puniness and raggedness of our souls.

So many deaths, and then so many more deaths and mutilations to come, memories I have no power to resist and which come and go to a pattern I cannot anticipate. Perhaps I made a noise. In any case I heard Latif Mahmud stir in the other room, and stirred myself to fill the kettle and rinse the cups for our tea. I heard him appear in the kitchen, felt him in that small space, and when I turned to him I saw that his eyes were large and luminous, glistening with hurt.

He looked straight at me and I dropped my eyes, afraid of what he was now going to say, weary of the bitter recriminations that had worn down my life. In this chapter they meet again for the first time in years. The entangled nature of memory and history, misunderstanding, and shame are crucial thematic concerns throughout the novel and are best captured in this moment of uncertainty.

By the Sea is no exception. Claire Chambers. London: Palgrave Macmillan, Felicity Hand. Cite this: Haith, Chelsea. Accessed 21 February Abdulrazak Gurnah.

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BY THE SEA

Latif Mahmud sat leaning back, his gaunt face tight in a grimace of fortitude, his lips pressed together and widened into the beginning of a grotesque smile. The room was now in the lingering dusk of an English summer evening, a light which at first made me anxious and irresolute but which I was learning to tolerate. I was learning to resist drawing the curtains and flooding the room with light, just so as to expel the gloom of that slow leaden onset of night. I thought I should rise and make some more tea, put the light on in the kitchen, break the grip of the silence in which we had been sitting then for a few minutes. But as soon as I stirred, Latif Mahmud uncrossed his legs and leaned forward. I waited for him to speak, but he said nothing, and after a moment he sighed and leaned back again, I rose carefully, so that I should not stumble in my weariness and let him think me feeble, and went to the kitchen.

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Review: By the Sea

Patrick Erouart-Siad. On the East Coat of Africa, monsoon winds carry boats out from the countries of the Persian Gulf and back from the ports of the Mozambique Canal. This is the "Land of Zanj," as the Muslim merchants call Zanzibar—in Arabic, "the country of the blacks. It is an old, old land, known at the beginning of the third millennium BC by the Pharaohs of Egypt and rediscovered by Greek sailors searching for the mysterious "Land of Punt," where abound gold, spices, ostrich feathers, and the ivory of fabulous wild beasts. It's a land where Bantu roots and Islam have intertwined since the tenth century. Even when the winds of history push them toward other, less hospitable shores—England, or the old, Marxist East Germany—Gurnah's characters are still the embodiment of mythic Zanzibar. The story told by this novel defies summary.

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