Moving from revolutionary Zanzibar in the 1960s to restless London in the 1990s, Gravel Heart is a powerful story of belonging, betrayal and exile, from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Paradise.
By the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021
‘The elegance and control of Gurnah’s writing, and his understanding of how quietly and slowly and repeatedly a heart can break, make this a deeply rewarding novel’ Kamila Shamsie, Guardian
For seven-year-old Salim, the pillars upholding his small universe – his indifferent father, his adored uncle, his treasured books, the daily routines of government school and Koran lessons – seem unshakeable. But it is the 1970s, and the winds of change are blowing through Zanzibar: suddenly Salim’s father is gone, and the island convulses with violence and corruption the wake of a revolution. It will only be years later, making his way through an alien and hostile London, that Salim will begin to understand the shame and exploitation festering at the heart of his family’s history.
‘Riveting . The measured elegance of Gurnah’s prose renders his protagonist in a manner almost uncannily real’ New York Times
‘Glittering … Each work is different from the last, yet they build into a powerfully evocative oeuvre that keeps coming back to the same questions, in spare, graceful prose, about the ties that bind and the ties that fray’ Telegraph
‘A colourful tale of life in a Zanzibar village, where passions and politics reshape a family. Powerful’ Mail on Sunday
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