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Salih
Tayeb Salih: Season of Migration to the North
Translated from the Arabic by Denys Johnson-Davies. Portsmouth, NH, USA: Heinemann 1997 169 p.
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A multiple interlocked tale, as one expects out of the African-arabic region. The narrator in the first person and Mustafa Sa'eed - pivot and cardinal point of the novel - study both at different times in England. Liberation from colonialism or new subjugation? Both return into their native country after their studies.
Judgement of the Europeans is: "It seems that our presence, in an open or undercover form, is as indispensable to you as air and water." (p.60) The Sudaneses see it this way: first the ships of the white people came down the Nile, loaded with guns. They laid tracks to transport the troops and schools were built "so as to teach us how to say 'Yes' in their language." Mustafa Sa'eed takes revenge on the English women, has to go to jail, and turns up at the Nile as honest citizen. The reason and the way of his astonishing change remains unknown to the reader. Or did I miss something while reading? That's possible, the text - although tense at the end - gets long-winded (allusions to Otello). How are women treated in Sudan? Were there changes because of the colonial forces? Hosna Bint Mahmoud tries to infringe the female subjugation and fails. The novel offers several answers, but leaves question unanswered - just as we want it.
To summarize: brisk reading and - taken action and mood confirm to the situation - enlightening. My evaluation of this novel: very good.
This book was published in 1968 and was translated into German as "Zeit der Auswanderung in den Norden". The author's surname is "at-Tayyib Salih" (according to: Mosbahi, Hassouna: "Ausgangspunkt: Ein Dorf am Nil", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 8-2-1997). Reading this newspaper reference I found out that the story is biographical.
Literature
Sigrid Weber: "Identität ist eine Lüge. Tajjib Salichs Roman »Zeit der Nordwanderung«". Blätter des Informationszentrums 3. Welt 250. 2001. S. 25-27
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salich salich Tajjib Salich: Zeit der Nordwanderung: Roman aus dem Sudan. Lenos 2001. Regina Karachouli Lenos Pocket Nr.62, Taschenbuch 191 Seiten salih
Tayeb Salih: Season of Migration to the North. Denys Johnson-Davies Übs. Heinemann, 1970. Taschenbuch salih

Salih
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© by Herbert Huber, Am Fröschlanger 15, 83512 Wasserburg, Germany, 8.6.2002