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Season of Migration to the North
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1001 book reviews > Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

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Dree | 243 comments I enjoyed the first half of this book quite a lot. Two men, of different generations, living in the same Sudanese town. Each has traveled and spent time in England for education and work. Each has returned to Sudan--the elder came to this town, bought a farm, married, has children. The younger has returned to his hometown and is as yet unmarried. They returned for different reasons.

The second half begins to get odd, the last 30 pages or so are weird and weirder. I am sure this is somehow a discussion of the colonized sending their best and brightest to the colonizer for education and to work with them. And never quite fitting in or being appreciated. I am unclear, though, what the womanizing by Mustafa is really supposed to mean. How does Hosna's, his widow's, fate fit into this? Did he marry her because she was independent and strong, more like the English women he liked? And thus he was her perfect match, and she could not tolerate a more-typical Sudanese match? Can the narrator avoid the same fate as that of Mustafa? He appears to chose to.

The author, born in Sudan, lived most of his life in Europe as well, so perhaps related more to Mustafa and the narrator than to those who did not leave their town and opted not to pursue additional education. Perhaps this book is really about how he felt when returning home? So many questions!


Gail (gailifer) | 1379 comments This book, although short, is dense with themes about the relationship of east to west, Arab to Christian, colonial to those conquered by colonialism, patriarchal dominance and what exactly makes a woman free. As Dree mentions above, it is in simple terms the story of two men who had traveled to England and then returned to their own country, Sudan, and who make choices within the context of an ancient society clashing with the emergence of a new society.
The writing is incredibly compelling, and the exact nature of any and all relationships within the book are left ambiguous although clearly our author plays with one of the men stereotypically attacking the colonizers through sexual conquests with the most independent of the colonizer's women.
The book is brave in that it never falls back into the predictable but always left me with a sense of having heard the truth but confused about what the truth may be telling me. Quite a remarkably idiosyncratic work.

4 stars at least, maybe even 5 depending upon how I digest the book over the next few days.


Kristel (kristelh) | 4103 comments Mod
Read 2016,
The story is set in the 1960s and is told my a young man who has returned to his village on the Nile in Sudan. Back home, he sees a stranger who is not familiar to him, Mustafa Sa'eed. Mustafa has also spent years in London and is a brilliant young man. While in London this man has a series of affairs with European woman, all who are in love with exotic young man from Africa. It is a tale of the violence when two cultures collide. A story of not fitting in the past and not yet ready for future.


Tatjana JP | 293 comments Season of Migration to the North is a short, but brilliant book written by Tayeb Salih. It elaborates many themes: patriarchal society and position of a women in particular, traditional African versus European life-style, values and culture, colonization of Africa and modernization of labour and production...
My rating: 4 stars.


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