NOVEL REVIEW: AFTERLIVES BY ABDULRAZAK GURNAH
How are you guys doing? I hope you guys are doing good. I'm now back from my break and vacation. Syukur Alhamdulillah, my vacation was awesome. My family and I went to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. We had five days of vacation there. However, I'm not going to share about my five days of vacation with guys in today's post. Oops! Sorry guys :P But Insya-Allah, I will share it in my future post. So have no worries, guys ^_^
Today, I'm going to share my review of a novel I finished reading last week. The novel is titled Afterlives and it is written by Abdulrazak Gurnah. Guys, FYI, this novel won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year and it has received a lot of positive reviews from book critiques. So this novel and review is a MUST read. Now let's begin this review with the author's bio...
ABOUT ABDULRAZAK GURNAH
Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Tanzanian novelist based in the United Kingdom. He was born in 1948 on the island of Zanzibar, East Africa. Abdulrazak Gurnah came to England as a university student in 1968. He later resides in England and now is a lecturer at the University of Kent. He teaches English Literature.
As a novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah has achieved numerous successes. Some of his books are Memory of Departure (1987), Pilgrim's Way (1988), Dottie (1990), Essays In African Literature: A Re-evalution (1993), Paradise (1994), Admiring Silence (1996), By The Sea (2001), Desertion (2005), The Cambridge Companion of Salman Rushdie (2007), and The Last Gift (2011).
Last year, Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize Award in Literature for Afterlives. This award gave Abdulrazak Gurnah a bigger recognition as a writer. Most of his novels are now listed as modern-day literature.
Afterlives is Abdulrazak Gurnah's latest novel. This novel was first published by Bloomsbury on the 17th of September 2020. Afterlives have received a lot of positive feedback from most book critiques. Most book critiques said that Afterlives is an important novel. Afterlives is a novel that all bookworms must not miss. This novel belongs to the Historical fiction genre.
The story in Afterlives took place during the German colonial era in the early 20th-century in East Africa (right after World War I). Afterlives focused on four main characters - Khalifa, Ilyas, Hamza, and Afiya. These four characters had their own backstory, conflict, and trauma.
Khalifa was the first protagonist introduced by the author. Khalifa was 26 years old. He was the son of a local African woman and a Gujarati bookkeeper. Early in the story, Khalifa met a merchant named Amur Biashara. Later, he married the merchant's niece, Asha.
After the couple got married, a young man named Ilyas came to their hometown and entered the scene. Ilyas was the second protagonist introduced by Abdulrazak Gurnah in the story. Ilyas was a local man. But he can speak German fluently compared to other local men. While Ilyas was still a little boy, he was stolen from his family by the German soldiers to join the army. After the war ended, Ilyas returned to his hometown to look for his family. Ilyas found out that his parents were gone, and his younger sister, Afiya was given away.
Afiya was the third protagonist introduced by the author. Afiya was treated badly by her new family. She was beaten so badly for her ability to read and write. At that time, women weren't allowed to read and write. Afiya later asked for Khalifa's help. She wanted to escape her new family and bad life. Khalifa helped Afiya escape. After Afiya succeeded in escaping her family and bad life, she met a handsome man named Hamza.
Hamza was the fourth protagonist introduced by the author. Hamza's story was the most compelling in Afterlives. Hamza was an Askari (a local soldier serving in the armies of European colonial powers in Africa) volunteer who quickly realise his mistake. Unlike Ilyas, Hamza was not stolen to join the army. It was Hamza's own decision to join the Askari. In the war, Hamza had grown up at the right hand of an officer whose protection has marked him for life. When Hamza met Afiya, he fell in love with her. Later in the story, Hamza and Afiya became husband and wife, and they had a son named Ilyas.
Besides these four protagonists, Afterlives also tells its readers about the hardship of life after World War I and during the German colonial era in East Africa, politics, racism, and humanity. The story ends with the beginning of World War II.
MY REVIEW OF AFTERLIVES
Afterlives is the second novel from Abdulrazak Gurnah that I've read after Paradise. Like Paradise, Afterlives also tells the story of youth in East Africa. Except that Paradise is about East African youth before World War I begins, and Afterlives is about East African youth after World War I ended. Both novels have the same style of writing, storytelling, and moral message. Both novels showcase the negative impacts of war on youth.
For me, Afterlives is a brilliant read. I like Adulrazak Gurnah's style of writing and storytelling. Abdulrazak Gurnah's style of writing in Afterlives touched my heart. Reading this novel also makes me learn about the history of East Africa during the German colonial era. The way Abdulrazak Gurnah describes the scenes in Afterlives is quite easy for me to visualize. I can feel the hardship these four characters were facing in the story. It was sad :'(
Overall, I rate this novel 10/10. I highly recommend my fellow bookworms to read Afterlives. This novel is a must-read, guys. After all, it has won an award, received a lot of good reviews, and listed as modern-day literature. So there is no reason for all bookworms not to read Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah.
Ok, so this is my review of Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah. So has anyone read this novel? If yes, what are your opinions of Afterlives by Abdulrazak Gurnah? Did you guys enjoy reading it?
Ok, this is all for now. Thank you for reading my review of Abdulrazak Gurnah's Afterlives. I'll see you guys again in my next post. Take care ^_^
Fadima Mooneira ^_^
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