Growing up in 1970s Zanzibar in a house full of secrets, Salim has always known that his father does not want him. When his father moves out, retreating into dishevelled introspection, Salim is confused and ashamed. His mother does not explain her absences with a strange man; silence is layered on silence. When his adored Uncle Amir, now a senior diplomat, offers Salim an escape, he travels to London for college. Struggling to find a foothold in this hostile city, and to understand the darkness at the heart of his family, Salim must face devastating truths about himself and those closest to him.
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.