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Paperback Season of Migration to the North Book

ISBN: 1590173023

ISBN13: 9781590173022

Season of Migration to the North

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Book Overview

An arresting work by a major Arab novelist. This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

One of the best books I’ve read

This is an amazing novel that beautifully showcases the hybridity of post colonial literature. I had to read this book for one of my college classes and it was honestly a pleasure. This was one of the best books I’ve read in the five years that I was a college student

Read Heart of Darkness First

It's interesting to read reviews of this short novel. Half of the readers see it as a satirical version of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". The other half - who perhaps have never read Conrad - think it's a vain, silly (although lyrically written) tale of a sex-maniac guy who likes to seduce and abandon women. This is one of the inherent problems in a novel which is meant to reference another work. If you were to read "Bored of the Rings" (an awesome parody of Lord of the Rings) without ever reading Lord of the Rings you might think it silly. Read them side by side and you realize the brilliance at work. Not only is that true here as well, but I also do think that Season of Migration to the North stands alone as a work in its own right. First, if you've never read "Heart of Darkness", look it up on the web and read it. It's online in its full text (it is out of copyright now) and you can read it for free. It's a short novel, just like Season, and should only take you an hour or two. It is a brilliant work, well deserving of its high acclaim. Go on, we'll wait for you to come back. Now, having read Heart, you can see the many similarities with Season. Both tell of someone starting from their own civilization and venturing out into the "opposite", and being changed by the experience. In Heart, an Englishman ventured into the Congo. In Season, Mustafa - a brilliant but anchorless student - is sent for education up to Cairo and then to London. Rather then becoming "refined" by the experience, he quickly bores with the women continually throwing themselves at his "exotic excitement". He deliberately lies to them about his background, his country's history, the meaning of his culture, and they don't care - they just want to be held by his ebony hands. Both novels create meaning in the power of the river, with the way it twists and turns around obstacles and keeps going. It is water which brings new life and destroys existing ones. Both novels use a second hand narration style, so you are hearing a lot of the story from a more neutral observer. Some people take exception with Season's focus-character, Mustafa, being a playboy. Really, he is in no way any worse than many novel protagonists! The only difference here is that the women he abandons then all decide life is not worth living :) Hopefully nobody was taking that as a serious fact-ridden narration, that this beautiful dark man was waltzing through London society leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake and it was another common happening. To me it was a social commentary on how certain types of individuals glamorize "powerful savages", give themselves over fully to the fantasy and then cannot deal with reality when it rears its head. Wrap this up with the aforementioned tongue-in-cheek references to Heart and you begin to understand where this was all coming from. I loved the lyrical beauty of the telling, the wealth of details about Sudan life, about how individuals felt about the col

A work of knife-like ironies and intelligence . . .

Postcolonial and more than a little postmodern, this short novel tells a story within a story and goes through a variety of different styles of storytelling, representing a range of perspectives on being African in an Africa both bound in tradition and transformed by the influence of Europe. Born of both worlds, the North and the South, the novel calls to mind Joseph Conrad from its first words, its unnamed narrator speaking to an unseen audience of "gentlemen." And that is only the beginning of many ironies, as the novel interweaves mystery, melodrama, travelogue, bawdy humor, politics, sociology, history, topography, Faustian tale, confession, and some very racy material that comes close to being pure potboiler. Set in Arab Sudan in the mid-20th century, the book can be read for any of several themes: the exoticism of Africa in the European imagination, the subjugation of women, the peril in the triumph of reason over compassion, the difficulty of determining truth in a world of secrecy and lies, the transformation of tribal village life with the introduction of foreign ideas and technology, and so on. Like the work of literature that it is, the book can be read more than once for its richly complex layers of meaning, where literal and figurative trade places at will. The knife-like edge of a dangerously superior intellect, for example, reappears later in the novel as a murder weapon - not once but twice. Earns a place on any shelf of 20th-century world literature.

The Greatest Arabic Novel

Season of Migration to the North is one of the greatest novels that I have ever read and I am a reader. The book is small but it has great details and great events. I admire the main character, Mustafa Saeed, for his unique personality; he is great in every aspect of life but the social life. I never understood why he treated women with very little "respect". I know that these women were attracted to his uniqueness and intelligence but I could not figure out his motivations behind hurting all of them. Your mind drifts sometimes to consider the fact that Sudan was colonized by the British and this was the author's way of discribing how Sudanese felt toward their colonizer, but I doubt that was the case! His Sudanese wife suffered as well. I enjoyed the vivid discription of the Nile river, the villages, and villagers, the Sudanese traditions. I did not even imagine that the ending was going to be like this. It was very powerful and just if you think about it, you will see how Mustafa Saeed affected everyone's life not just his own. Mustafa Saeed's character is brilliant!! the novel is brilliant.

Timeless Classic - A Dream

"Season of Migration to the North" is simply an undiscovered gem among literary works. The work presents a story of a mysterious character who after being educated in Sudan follows his quest for knowledge to the "cold north" of London. Seemingly a simple story develops into a complex character study weaved in with issues of colonialism in African countries, the effect of economics on the distrubution of wealth in the world, the meaning of economics as an academic discipline, and most importantly a quest for a personal and cultural identity - the paradox of diaspora. The work is beautifully translated, as the reader will notice thus contributing to its lyrical and precise execution in which every word counts. The format in which the work is presented might confuse a few people but is highly relevant to the character and plot development. For those familiar with Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" this will prove to be a worthwhile read which takes the concepts adressed in Ellison's work to a next level. Also recommended is a film "The Wedding in Galilee" for further deconstruction and interpretation.

A literary masterwork from Sudan

Tayeb Salih's great novel is a compelling satirical rewrite of Joseph Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS. In Salih's version, instead of a European intellectual travelling to Africa to be corrupted by his contact with "primitive savagery," the protagonist starts out as an idealistic young man from Sudan who travels northward to Europe, where he is undone by corruption, decadence, and the mutual destructiveness of unhappy love affairs. The novel is cleverly written and well translated, with terrific insights into the relationships of southern and northern hemispheres; the colonized to their colonizers; Arabs and Europeans; and men and women. I've read a lot of Arab novels (and many more African ones); A SEASON OF MIGRATION TO THE NORTH is the best I've read to date.
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