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Paradise
Cover of Paradise
Paradise
Borrow Borrow
By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature
A BBC RADIO 4 Book at Bedtime
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
_______________________
'A poetic and vividly conjured book about Africa and the brooding power of the unknown'
Independent on Sunday

'Gurnah evokes his world in poetic prose which is pure and lucid - a small paradise in itself ... The pleasures, sadnesses and losses in all the shining facets of this book are lingering and exquisite'
Guardian

'An obliterated world is enthrallingly retrieved'
Sunday Times
_______________________
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. But the truth is that his 'uncle' is a rich and powerful merchant and Yusuf has been pawned to him to pay his father's debts.

Paradise is a rich tapestry of myth, dreams and Biblical and Koranic tradition, the story of a young boy's coming of age against the backdrop of an Africa increasingly corrupted by colonialism and violence.
By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature
A BBC RADIO 4 Book at Bedtime
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE
_______________________
'A poetic and vividly conjured book about Africa and the brooding power of the unknown'
Independent on Sunday

'Gurnah evokes his world in poetic prose which is pure and lucid - a small paradise in itself ... The pleasures, sadnesses and losses in all the shining facets of this book are lingering and exquisite'
Guardian

'An obliterated world is enthrallingly retrieved'
Sunday Times
_______________________
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. But the truth is that his 'uncle' is a rich and powerful merchant and Yusuf has been pawned to him to pay his father's debts.

Paradise is a rich tapestry of myth, dreams and Biblical and Koranic tradition, the story of a young boy's coming of age against the backdrop of an Africa increasingly corrupted by colonialism and violence.
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About the Author-
  • Abdulrazak Gurnah is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021. He is the author of ten novels: Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way, Dottie, Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award), Admiring Silence, By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award), Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize) The Last Gift, Gravel Heart, and Afterlives, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Fiction 2021 and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize. He was Professor of English at the University of Kent, and was a Man Booker Prize judge in 2016. He lives in Canterbury.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 4, 1994
    Gurnah's powerful, ironically titled story evokes the Edenic natural beauty of a continent on the verge of full-scale imperialist takeover by the European powers. Set in Colonial East Africa as English invaders drive natives off the land and Germans plan a railway across the continent, the novel focuses on Yusuf, a teenager sold by his father into indentured servitude at age 12 to pay off a debt. Working in the shop of his exploitive Uncle Aziz, then trekking with a trade caravan, callow Yusuf learns the ways of the world as he encounters an Africa rife with tribal warfare, superstition, disease and child slavery. He also falls hopelessly in love with Amina, the adoptive sister of a fellow indentured worker; she was married off, against her will, to the much older Aziz, who, we learn, may not be Yusuf's real uncle. Born in Zanzibar and currently a professor of literature in England, Gurnah ( Memory of Departure ) conjures a cauldron of animosities among African Muslims, Indian merchants, European farmers and native tribes in a vibrant coming-of-age story.

  • Independent on Sunday Many layered, violent, beautiful and strange ... a poetic and vividly conjured book about Africa and the brooding power of the unknown
  • Sunday Times An aural archive of a lost Africa ... Tangling travel adventures, social documentary, political indictment and a doomed love story ... Paradise is alive with the unexpected. In it, an obliterated world is enthrallingly retrieved
  • Barry Unsworth Paradise is that rare thing, a novel that is totally convincing in the vivid physical world it presents, yet transcending that world and reaching into the universal. Folk tale, travel story, drama of love and loss, by turns touching and horrifying, it is a novel to be grateful for
  • Spectator, Books of the Year A gently meandering coming-of-age tale
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    Bloomsbury Publishing
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Abdulrazak Gurnah
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