274pp., paperback, London, 2020
Ilyas, stolen from his parents by the German colonial troops, returns to his village after many years to find his parents gone and his sister Afiya given away. Hamza has come of age in the army, serving an officer whose control ensured his protection but marked him for life. Returning to the town of his childhood, all he wants is work, security, and Afiya.
"To read Afterlives is to be returned to the joy of storytelling ... The story of Hamza and Afiya is one of simple lives buffeted by colonial ambitions, of the courage it takes to endure, to hold oneself with dignity, and to live with hope in the heart." Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness and The Memory of Love
"Gurnah excels at depicting the lives of those made small by cruelty and injustice, those who look away rather than confront, the cowed and put-upon ... A beautiful, cruel world of bittersweet encounters and pockets of compassion, twists of fate and fluctuating fortunes. So moving and believable. You forget that you are reading fiction, it feels so real." Leila Aboulela, author of The Museum
“Riveting and heartbreaking ... A compelling novel, one that gathers close all those who were meant to be forgotten, and refuses their erasure.” Maaza Mengiste, Guardian
Abdulrazak Gurnah is the author of nine novels, including Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award), By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award) and Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize). He was Professor of English at the University of Kent. He lives in Canterbury.