book price comparison make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Desertion by Abdulrazak Gurnah


Historical Fiction   Literary Fiction   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A culture clash love, a turn-of-the-last-century scandal beautifully written as a semi-conscious English explorer is nursed by a spiky, argumentative Muslim. Itâs a dense, captivating read.

Similar this month: None.
Comparison: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, V S Naipaul, Paul Theroux.

If you like Abdulrazak Gurnah you might also like to read books by V S Naipaul, Paul Theroux and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Desertion by Abdulrazak Gurnah

Early one morning in 1899, in a small town along the coast from Mombasa, Hassanali sets out for the mosque. But he never gets there, for out of the desert stumbles an ashen and exhausted Englishman who collapses at his feet. That man is Martin Pearce — writer, traveller and something of an Orientalist. After Pearce has recuperated, he visits Hassanali to thank him for his rescue and meets Hassanaliâs sister Rehana; he is immediately captivated. In this crumbling town on the edge of civilised life, with the empire on the brink of a new century, a passionate love affair begins that brings two cultures together and which will reverberate through three generations and across continents.


‘Rich in detail and filled with acute observations, this novel movingly examines the absences eating away at the core of all of its charactersâ Sunday Telegraph

‘As beautifully written and pleasurable as anything Iâve read … Gurnahâs portrait is the work of a maestroâ Guardian

‘This is an impressive and deeply serious book, a careful and often heartfelt exploration of the way memory inevitably consoles and disappoints usâ Sunday Times

‘An absorbing novel about abandonment and loss … Gurnah writes beautifully, with the satisfying assurance of someone who knows how to achieve his effects without undue fuss but with absolute precisionâ Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Abdulrazak Gurnah
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar and teaches at the University of Kent. He is the author of six novels which include Paradise, Admiring Silence and By the Sea. Paradise was shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prizes.

Photograph © Mark Pringle

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2006


Abdulrazak Gurnah

More books by Abdulrazak Gurnah
Author 'Like for Like'


Bloomsbury Publishing Plc


272 pages


Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



It's a lively, independent website with reviews, recommendations and more - with a huge range of books available to buy in all formats.

Alison Layland

It's the first site that I visit when deciding on the next set of books to buy. A particular treat is being able to download an extract.

Tessa Olson

I love Lovereading because of its ability to connect people that love books & unite them in a friendly, stimulating & interesting community.

Megan Olwen William

Books of the month/debuts of the month, kids/adults, fiction/non-fiction, free prize draws and free extracts, what's not to love?

Emma Smith

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart