by Abdulrazak Gurnah - £7.99 Bloomsbury Publishing (2006)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780747578956 | ISBN 10: 0747578958
Early one morning in 1889, 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 Pearse - writer, traveller and something of an Orientalist. After Pearse has recuperated, his visits Hassanali to thank him for his rescue and meets Hassanali's 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.
"Desertion is powerfully written, weaving stories and deliberately breaking away from them to beguile the reader from new angles, building a portrait of a betrayed society and showing how the consequences of desertion never go away. It is a beautifully evoked novel."
(Dermot Bolger, Sunday Times)
(Price & availability last checked: May 2018)
In booklists: World Fiction - Africa, Writers by Surname - G, Black Fiction - Worldwide, World Fiction - Kenya, Historical Fiction, In categories: Fiction, World - Africa, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, History & Biography,