Reviews

  • Without a doubt it is one of the finest Arabic novels of the 20th century, and Denys Johnson-Davies' translation does the original justice

    Hisham Matar
  • This depthless, elusive classic explores not just the corrosive psychological colonisation observed by Frantz Fanon, but a more complex two-way orientalism, in which the charms of western thought, embodied in its poetry and liberal ideals, prove irresistible, even as the novel's Sudanese narrators understand these as the tempting fruit of a poisoned tree

    Guardian
  • Salih packed an entire library into this slim masterpiece ... It is alive with drama and incident: crimes of passion, sadomasochism, suicide. It is a novel of ideas wrapped in the veils of romance

    Harper's Magazine
  • This is the one novel that everyone insisted I took with me. Set in a Sudanese village by the Nile, it is a brilliant exploration of African encounters with the West, and the corrupting power of colonialism. I never got this book out to read without someone coming up to tell me how brilliant it was

    Mary Beard
  • An Arabian Nights in reverse, enclosing a pithy moral about international misconceptions and delusions...Powerfully and poetically written and splendidly translated by Denys Johnson-Davies

    Observer
  • The prose, translated from Arabic, has a grave beauty. It's the story of a man who returns to his native Sudan after being educated in England, then encounters the first Sudanese to get an English education. The near-formal elegance in the writing contrasts with the sly anti-colonial world view of the book, and this makes it even more interesting

    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Denys Johnson-Davies...the leading Arabic-English translator of our time

    Edward Said

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