Bloomsbury

Q&A with Abdulrazak Gurnah about latest novel ‘Afterlives’: “These stories have been with me all along…”

By AiW Guest: Judyannet Muchiri.
[…]
Judyannet Muchiri: This is a heavy story and yet there are moments of stillness, joy, love, and tenderness, if you will. I wonder how it is for you as a writer to capture this human existence in its totality as you have done in Afterlives. 

Abdulrazak Gurnah: My interest was not to write about the war or the ugliness of colonialism. Instead I want to make sure the context in which war and colonialism happened is understood. And that the people in that context were people with entire existences. I want to show how people who are wounded by the war and by life itself cope in these circumstances. Using the unexpected kindnesses in the story, I wanted to show that there is potential for kindness in people and sometimes circumstances can draw such kindness from us. 

“Such noise and screams and blood”: A Review of Abdulrazak Gurnah’s ‘Afterlives’ (2020)

By AiW Guest: Judyannet Muchiri.

In the wake of a bad dream, one of the protagonists in Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives, Hamza, laments: “such noise and screams and blood”. These words keep resounding when one thinks about the disruption caused by colonialism in Africa – how our grandparents and ancestors must have felt with the arrival of those who set themselves up as colonial masters.

Making lists: Africa39

List culture has become as ‘ubiquitous’ a feature of contemporary cultural life as the prize culture James English writes about in his seminal The Economy of Prestige. Lists from The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 to Granta’s Best Young British… Read More ›