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#BookReview | Gravel Heart by Abdulrazak Gurnah


Title: Gravel Heart
By: Abdulrazak Gurnah
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 272
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Audience: PG-13

Summary from Goodreads: A powerful story of exile, migration, and betrayal, from the Booker Prize shortlisted author of Paradise.

Salim has always known that his father does not want him. Living with his parents and his adored Uncle Amir in a house full of secrets, he is a bookish child, a dreamer haunted by night terrors. It is the 1970s and Zanzibar is changing. Tourists arrive, the island's white sands obscuring the memory of recent conflict--the longed-for independence from British colonialism swiftly followed by bloody revolution. When his father moves out, retreating into disheveled introspection, Salim is confused and ashamed. His mother does not discuss the change, nor does she explain her absences with a strange man; silence is layered on silence.

When glamorous Uncle Amir, now a senior diplomat, offers Salim an escape, the lonely teenager travels to London for college. But nothing has prepared him for the biting cold and seething crowds of this hostile city. Struggling to find a foothold, and to understand the darkness at the heart of his family, he must face devastating truths about those closest to him--and about love, sex, and power. Evoking the immigrant experience with unsentimental precision and profound understanding, Gravel Heart is a powerfully affecting story of isolation, identity, belonging, and betrayal, and Abdulrazak Gurnah's most astonishing achievement.


Review: This has to be the first book that I've read based in Zanzibar. It was awesome to read about different cultures and see how other people lived in the 70's. The book was well written, taking me through Salim's life as he struggles with his father's distance, to his mother's suspected infidelity and the move the London with his uncle. The emotions are raw and the story doesn't hold back. Gurnah has shared a story that will touch many lives and open the eyes of the world to the struggles of different cultures.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.


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