Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah’s first novel “Memory of Departure” published in Persian

TEHRAN – “Memory of Departure”, the first novel by 2021 Nobel Prize winner for Literature Abdulrazak Gurnah has been published in Persian.

Fereshteh Abdoli and Gholamreza Emami are the translators of the book published by the Gooya House of Art and Culture.

This haunting coming-of-age novel evokes in sparse but vivid prose the exotic sights, sounds and sights of the East African coast and the spiritual rebirth of a sensitive 15-year-old .

Living with his family in a miserable port village, the hero, Hassan Omar, is surrounded by a self-perpetuating cycle of violence and despair.

His own sense of despair is fueled by the puny lives around him: his drunken, tyrannical, libertine father; a sister, who escapes the impasse of their lives in unbridled promiscuity; a dissolute older brother, who succumbs to poverty and ends up dying in a freak accident; and finally, his mother, who fatally resigned herself to being brutalized by her husband.

Eventually, Hassan leaves his family to stay with an uncle in Nairobi, and there he discovers a larger world, which also contains its share of cruelty but also of hope and redemption, offering a way out of his old life and his hatred. immobilizing self. .

Hassan’s rite of passage ultimately comes to represent something bigger, though Gurnah, who was born in Tanzania and now teaches at an English university, simply suggests this message: the hero’s aspirations and dilemmas reflect the struggles of Third World Africa to shed its colonial skin. , with its tradition of poverty and oppression, and to build a new identity.

It’s a short but dense book, often hair-raising in its dramatic scenes of degradation and compelling in its rendering of Hassan’s evolving consciousness.

Photo: A poster for the Persian edition of the novel “Memory of Departure” by Abdulrazak Gurnah.


Irene B. Bowles