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Admiring Silence
Cover of Admiring Silence
Admiring Silence
By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021
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By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature
'There is a wonderful sardonic eloquence to this unnamed narrator's voice' Financial Times
'I don't think I've ever read a novel that is so convincingly and hauntingly sad about the loss of home' Independent on Sunday
_____________________
He thinks, as he escapes from Zanzibar, that he will probably never return, and yet the dream of studying in England matters above that.
Things do not happen quite as he imagined – the school where he teaches is cramped and violent, he forgets how it feels to belong. But there is Emma, beautiful, rebellious Emma, who turns away from her white, middle-class roots to offer him love and bear him a child. And in return he spins stories of his home and keeps her a secret from his family.
Twenty years later, when the barriers at last come down in Zanzibar, he is able and compelled to go back. What he discovers there, in a story potent with truth, will change the entire vision of his life.
By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature
'There is a wonderful sardonic eloquence to this unnamed narrator's voice' Financial Times
'I don't think I've ever read a novel that is so convincingly and hauntingly sad about the loss of home' Independent on Sunday
_____________________
He thinks, as he escapes from Zanzibar, that he will probably never return, and yet the dream of studying in England matters above that.
Things do not happen quite as he imagined – the school where he teaches is cramped and violent, he forgets how it feels to belong. But there is Emma, beautiful, rebellious Emma, who turns away from her white, middle-class roots to offer him love and bear him a child. And in return he spins stories of his home and keeps her a secret from his family.
Twenty years later, when the barriers at last come down in Zanzibar, he is able and compelled to go back. What he discovers there, in a story potent with truth, will change the entire vision of his life.
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Awards-
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

    October 14, 1996
    This tightly focused story of an unnamed Zanzibarian expatriate who returns home after a 20-year exile in England poignantly evokes the cultural limbo of many emigres. For his lover, anti-bourgeoisie rebel Ph.D. candidate Emma, and her upper-middle-class parents, the narrator plays the role of grateful colonial, fabricating memories rich with mythical glories of the Empire. Likewise, his correspondence with his family in Zanzibar carefully omits any reference to his long relationship with Emma, or to their 17-year-old daughter, Amelia. At 42, he is estranged from Emma and his daughter, abhors his teaching job and has a dicey heart. When he receives a letter from his mother telling him that amnesty has been declared for those who left the country illegally, as he did, and urging him to return, he does--and finds himself caught between his sketchy actual memories and his elaborate fabrications. Pressured to accept a relatively prestigious government-sponsored job, and to marry a young medical student, he reveals his situation with Emma and Amelia. His admission hurts his family and dishonors them socially. Upon his return to England, he finds he has lost Emma to another lover. The novel's strength lies in the unflinching psychological honesty of the chronically dishonest narrator as he comes to understand that his abandonment of his family of origin and his estrangement from his created family are part and parcel of his emotional exile. Gurnah, a Zanzibarian residing in England, writes with remarkable sensitivity, demonstrating the same incisive grasp of cultural issues that earned his first novel, Paradise, a place on the Booker Prize short list.

  • Independent on Sunday I don't think I've ever read a novel that is so convincingly and hauntingly sad about the loss of home, the impossible longing to belong
  • Financial Times Abdulrazak Gurnah's fifth novel, Admiring Silence, is his best to date ... There is a wonderful sardonic eloquence to this unnamed narrator's voice, and the playful humour and lack of self-pity which characterises his narrative is totally convincing
  • Sunday Times Through a twisting, many-layered narrative, Admiring Silence explores themes of race and betrayal with bitterly satirical insight
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    Bloomsbury Publishing
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Admiring Silence
Admiring Silence
By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021
Abdulrazak Gurnah
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