Remembering history and historicising memories lie behind Abdulrazak Gurnah’s art, much of which is based on a desire to recuperate the histories of the Swahili Coast or, more specifically, the people of his native Zanzibar. He draws on innovative ways of using memory as a tool for deconstructing historical narratives. The tension between individual perception of history compared to collective consciousness is played out in Gurnah’s novels. He captures the sense of uprooting that exile etches on those people who are either obliged or voluntarily choose to abandon their homelands. His work has no doubt been greatly inspired by his own experience as an African migrant in 1960s Britain, which filters through the loneliness his characters suffer. Daud in

Pilgrim’s Way

(1988), the…

3167 words

Citation: Hand, Felicity. "Abdulrazak Gurnah". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 August 2012; last revised 20 January 2022. [, accessed 22 February 2024.]

11741 Abdulrazak Gurnah 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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