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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,560 ratings  ·  348 reviews
Ihmiskohtalot siirtomaavallan ytimessä.

Vuoden 2021 nobelisti Abdulrazak Gurnah on unohdetun Afrikan ääni, historian melskeisiin hävinneiden siirtomaiden kertoja, jolla on taito löytää suurista tragedioista hiljaista kauneutta. Loppuelämät kertoo unohdetuista ihmisistä, joiden elämä jatkui, vaikka maailma särkyi ympärillä.

1900-luvun alussa Saksan Itä-Afrikassa elämä on levo
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published April 19th 2022 by Tammi (first published September 17th 2020)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,560 ratings  ·  348 reviews

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May 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2020
Update 7th October 2021 - Nobel Prize for Abdulrazak Gurnah "for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between culture and continents"

Lately a friend reviewed Abdulrazak Gurnah’s novel By the Sea, which reminded me of his novel Paradise(1994) that I did read some decades ago. So when the news reached me a new novel of him was about to be published, I was keen to read it as my present reading habits seem to have turn
Jul 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk, 21-ce, fiction, africa
Having just finished I am rendered speechless. No lame summary will suffice. Brilliant! I suppose that’s why Stockholm gave him the Nobel.
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
The 10th novel by the 2021 Nobel Prize Literature winner (and the final published before the award).

From the Nobel Citation

Gurnah’s latest novel, the magnificent Afterlives from 2020, takes up where Paradise ends. And as in that work, the setting is the beginning of the 20th century, a time before the end of German colonisation of East Africa in 1919. Hamza, a youth reminiscent of Yusuf in Paradise, is forced to go to war on the Germans’ side and becomes dependent on an officer who sexually e
Ron Charles
Aug 23, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize in literature last year, not nearly enough people had read anything by the Tanzanian-born writer. The author of 10 English-language novels, Gurnah had attracted critical praise, but fans knew his stories of East Africa and exile should be reaching a wider audience. In response to the Nobel Prize news, Gurnah’s British editor confessed, “It has been one of the great sadnesses and frustrations of my career that his work has not received the recognition it ...more
Roman Clodia
Every bit of it belonged to Europeans, at least on a map: British East Africa, Deutsche-Ostafrika, Africa Oriental Portuguesa, Congo Belge.

This is a hard book for me to rate since I found the material with which it's concerned fascinating - but the mode of storytelling is very distanced and 'told'. Rather than living through the experiences with the characters, we're often absorbing narrative information as if we were reading a history text rather than a novel: 'They burned villages and tram
A Nobel Prize winner, that always creates high expectations. Gurnah is a natural born storyteller, that's clear: he follows a limited number of characters in a more or less chronological story and a concrete setting, with a mix of descriptions, dialogues and reflections. No experiments here, and that in itself is perhaps a relief. On top of that, the entire setting of this novel is quite attractive: the Indies community in East Africa, in the first half of the twentieth century. In scents and co ...more
Katie Lumsden
This was an interesting one - I quite enjoyed some moments but the writing style wasn't really for me, and I found myself feeling at a distance from it. ...more
Gabriela Pistol
May 14, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with the writing (stern, with no depth and no emotion), but I was won over by the story.
It's an amazing journey in the history of East Africa for over 70 years and this history geek has learned so many things she didn't know about German (and British) colonialism and the African culture.
Jan 22, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022
To start with honesty: when Abdulrazak Gurnah was announced as the Nobel Prize winner, I had not heard of him (his Booker prize nominations came prior to my proper engagement with the prize at a time when I read the winner but took no other notice of the prize) and certainly had not read any of his books. I made a decision that I should rectify that and did what I think most people would do with an author they have not read before: I chose his most recent book.

To continue with honesty. At the 10
Carol Jones
Apr 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first novel by Abdulrazak Gurnah was such a revelation. Initially I picked up the title as it is set during the early 20th century in east Africa where the Germans and British wrangle for dominion over the lives and heritage of its peoples. It promised to explore the interlinked lives of Ilyas, Afiya and Hamza who had been sold, stolen or given away, and how they survived in the shadow of war.

The novel certainly delivered on this promise and much more. Masterful storytelling carries readers i
Nov 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have joined the legion of people getting curious about Abdulrazak Gurnah after his Nobel Prize, and I’m really thankful to have discovered him.

The writing style seems to be off-putting to many, but this was one of the things I liked the most about the novel. Things were told, not shown. It feels like you’re sitting at the fireplace, and a gifted storyteller is telling you the life story of a small cast of characters, pausing at times to change narrators when you’re asking, and telling you abou
Greg Morris
Jul 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After seeing a number of reviews commenting on how they failed to connect with characters due to the writing style, I was a little sceptical. I found the style to be an engaging one and despite the 3rd person narrative, it was easy to understand the perspective of the character in focus. This style also alows you to make your own decisions about the characters with no one character coming to dominate as the "main character". I absolutely loved this book I found the authors ability to create beli ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gurnah wove an intricate tapestry in which several characters’ lives intersect, entwine and crossover at varying points. We are shown the threads of each character, their hitches and pains along the way and the more colourful, shining moments in which the beauty of the tapestry begins to show, despite the bleak circumstances they are dealt.

The story takes place in East Africa, present day Tanzania for the most part, and begins during the colonial rule of Germany. It follows through both world wa
Feb 13, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 ⭐
Despite feeling quite emotional as I finished the book, something held me back from a full 5⭐ rating. I think it's Gurnah's occasional zooming out, looking at the lives of his characters from above, and taking a sweep of years in a few paragraphs, before zooming back into their hearts and minds. Nothing about it is bad, but it just lifted me out of the emotional intimacy he is excellent at, and for that moment placed me as an historical observer. Still, he won the Nobel Prize, so what do I
Reading the Nobels is an interesting exercise: as you can see from reviews here on the blog, my discoveries have sometimes been challenging but mostly a rewarding experience.  (Though once was enough with a couple of authors, regrettably both female i.e. Herta Müller and Elfriede Jelinek.)  This years laureate, Abdulrazak Gurnah, is however, an author I had already 'discovered' through sheer serendipity at the library back in 2014, and I liked Admiring Silence so much that I immediately acquired ...more
Author Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents” – that ability to cut through the noise and speak with truth about the effects of colonialism is evident in his latest of ten novels, Afterlives. A riveting work, Gurnah’s novel decenters well-known European historical narratives—of the World Wars, and the period between them—a ...more
Lee (Books With Lee)
4.5 - reading across Africa Tanzania 🇹🇿
Jan 31, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The latest novel by last year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature is set in the former colony of German East Africa, or Deutsch-Ostafrika, beginning in the immediate aftermath of the Maji Maji Rebellion (1905-07), in which an armed insurrection by local residents against harsh demands and working conditions imposed on them by the colonists was met with brutal and overwhelming force, and the resultant genocide by the Germans cost approximately 300,000 Africans their lives.

Khalifa is a half
Aisha Ayoosh
Jan 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Until recently, most conversations about the European colonial presence in Africa have excluded Germany.

Established in the late 19th century, the German empire on the continent included colonies in present-day Namibia, Cameroon, Togo, parts of Tanzania and Kenya, and eventually claimed the kingdoms of Rwanda and Burundi.

German colonial rule was brutal, as colonial enterprises were; in an arena known for its oppression and violence, it is Germany that perpetrated the first genocide of the 20th
Laura Walin
I am a Nobel Prize enthusiast in the sense that back in 2008 I decided to start a project to read at least one piece of work from every winner. I completed the project in 2015 and ever since I have been trying to watch the announcement live to be able to make the reservation for the new winner as soon as possible. In 2021 I had something overlapping and had to wait five months for this book.

Gurnah takes us to the early decades of the 20th century in southeastern Africa. We get to follow the live
Sanjana Idnani
An insightful book that provided great perspectives into the impact of the wars on the colonies and also shone a light on German colonialism - a perspective that I think is often overlooked in the postcolonial literature that I have read. For me, the first half of the book had great potential but the second part felt rushed and unfocused which meant that couldn’t be executed fully. The last three chapters in particular felt jumpy and unclear. The best part of the book for me was Hamza’s time in ...more
What I liked about this book is that it takes place in Tanzania, a country I have visited but never read a book taking place there.

The story takes place before WWI until after WWII. There are some local historical details mentioned, which to be honest I forgot after I read them, since I had never heard about the wars and tribes mentioned. The book is separated in four parts and the interest starts low in part 1 and ends up medium-high in part 2.

The writing is simple, linear, easy to read. There
Mar 11, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I learned about German colonialism in East Africa in this book, as well as, following the lives of three characters during the early part of the 20th century. I enjoyed being immersed in the lives of Hamza, Afiya and Khalifa but I found the ending slightly rushed.
Ophelia Kemigisha
This book is so tenderly written and contains some of the most compelling and heartbreaking stories about life under both German and British colonial regimes. I loved the tracing of each character's history and the redemption arc for them. ...more
Gaby Treviño
Aug 26, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew close to nothing about the specifics of British and German colonization of Africa, and this book did a beautiful job of weaving historical info with a captivating narrative. The family histories and lineages were a really interesting way of exploring the nuances of colonization's repercussions at the micro scale. I only docked a star because the prose wasn't my cup of tea. A heavy but beautiful read I highly recommend!! ...more
Apr 28, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this a book of two halves. The first half was a powerful, emotional imagining of growing up in a tumultuous occupied Africa. Two storylines are used to trace a young orphaned man called Hamza who voluntarily joins the Germans as a schutztruppe (local soldier). Clearly they were just trained as fodder for war and were treated ruthlessly by their German officers. Hamza quickly realises his error. This was a fascinating (awful and violent) part of the book. The second storyline originally t ...more
Aug 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hamza had seen many Khoi faces (...). It was more likely that it was not a Khoi face but of a kind he had not come across before, from Madagascar or Socotra or a far-flung island he had never heard of. Their world was full of strange faces since the recent war, and especially in these towns along the shores of the ocean, which had always drawn people from across the water and across the land, some more willingly than others. But perhaps it was nothing like that, and it was just the face of a man ...more
First book I read by 2021 Literature Nobel price winner Abdulrazak Gurnah and it surely won't be the last. In his books he deals with colonialism, the German occupation of East Africa and above all the occupation of Tanzania, his home country.

For me it's always hard to read books about colonialism and I will never conceive how people can occupy someone other's land torturing the inhabitats or treat them as inferior people. Thankfully it isn't a book that talks only about the cruelty of the colo
Oct 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was searching for historical fiction that described life under a colonialism apart from English. I picked this one because it described life under German colonialism, but also it had a lot of Indians, that would come to eastern Africa to do business. It was not super remarkable, but it captured that time period perfectly. And now I am surprised to know the author won the Nobel Literature prize, so I decided to add the book, with a review
Jeyavaishnavi Muralikumar
Afterlives is a linearly narrated picture of Tanganyika (now part of Tanzania) during the first half of the twentieth century, from the perspective of one family. The fact that I know of this book and was able to obtain a copy to read can be attributed to the Tanzanian-born author now being British, and having just been awarded a Nobel Prize. Afterlives is his most recent work, if that matters. Does it? I don’t know. I found it interesting but underwhelming, partly because I have read postcoloni ...more
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Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in 1948 in Zanzibar and lives in England, where he teaches at the University of Kent. The most famous of his novels are Paradise, shortlisted for both the Booker and the Whitbread Prize; By the Sea, longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Desertion, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in ...more

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