From Kim's list on Arabic writers on the destruction of colonization.
I planned to read this book for research but ended up so immersed in the story that I kept forgetting to take notes. The narrative, a “clever inversion of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,” follows the travels and travails of a young protagonist tangled in the contradictions of his African childhood, his formal education in England, and his return home with what he sees as the boon of modern thought. Part mystery, part romance, part history, part monomyth, part psychological thriller, the novel is set in an “unsettled and violent no-man’s-land between…tradition and innovation, holiness and defilement...” This book fascinated and haunted me even as it informed me about the complexities, dichotomies, and dissonance of colonization. Shot through with “allusions to Arabic and European fiction, Islamic history, Shakespeare, Freud, and classical Arabic poetry,” Salih’s novel should first be read for what it is: a brilliant work of art.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
After years of study in Europe, the young narrator of Season of Migration to the North returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan. It is the 1960s, and he is eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood—the enigmatic Mustafa Sa’eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led…