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on March 13, 2017
This novel is very well written and has a flowing style. The story centers around two main characters who both leave Sudan to study in London with very different results. These men seem to be stuck in one of two modes, aggression or apathy.The story addresses several themes during the course of the book. They key theme is the after affects of Colonialism on a country and its people. The novel shows a lot of brutality toward women. There is some playful character development in a group of the village elders, however, the book overall is not one that will leave you uplifted or whistling a happy tune at its conclusion. I read the English translation, in which the translator worked extremely closely with the author, however, there is also one in Arabic which is said to have beautiful wording. My suggestion would be to read this book if you are interested in this topic, otherwise, you may find something of more interest elsewhere.
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on August 17, 2014
As a scholar on an NEH Institute on the topic "Arabic Literature in Translation" I studied this book and subsequently taught it in a high school humanities classroom. As the senior classes in TAG AP literature approached graduation, one student asked for my desk copy as a souvenir, and I gladly gave it to him before I also "graduated" to retirement. Now, over a decade later, I was searching for another copy and was elated to be able to buy a paperback copy at such a reasonable price. At this time of relative ignorance of the history of many parts of the Middle East and its myriad histories and populations, I am still impressed by the metafictional insights and perspectives that such a small book can give the reader. In addition, the language of the translation is amazingly lovely and poetic, yet clear and meaningful. Despite its compact size, it calls for multiple readings: once for the breathtaking personal stories and scenic descriptions, and at least two more to annotate the contrasting historically political perceptions of human beings who lived the times.
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on September 24, 2017
This book presents the sweet and rough sides of Sudanese society in a way that only a local author could describe it. While the central story (the story within the story of Mustafa Saed) is somewhat blurry and not fully resolved in the book (at least for this reader), the contextual story developed by the narrator, including descriptions of family life and landscapes, are beautiful and riveting. My book club read it in combination with "Heart of Darkness," because Mr. Salib was inspired in part by Conrad's tale of pain and despair in the collision between two very different cultures.
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It's interesting to read reviews of this short novel. Half of the readers see it as a satirical version of Joseph Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". The other half - who perhaps have never read Conrad - think it's a vain, silly (although lyrically written) tale of a sex-maniac guy who likes to seduce and abandon women. This is one of the inherent problems in a novel which is meant to reference another work. If you were to read "Bored of the Rings" (an awesome parody of Lord of the Rings) without ever reading Lord of the Rings you might think it silly. Read them side by side and you realize the brilliance at work. Not only is that true here as well, but I also do think that Season of Migration to the North stands alone as a work in its own right.

First, if you've never read "Heart of Darkness", look it up on the web and read it. It's online in its full text (it is out of copyright now) and you can read it for free. It's a short novel, just like Season, and should only take you an hour or two. It is a brilliant work, well deserving of its high acclaim. Go on, we'll wait for you to come back.

Now, having read Heart, you can see the many similarities with Season. Both tell of someone starting from their own civilization and venturing out into the "opposite", and being changed by the experience. In Heart, an Englishman ventured into the Congo. In Season, Mustafa - a brilliant but anchorless student - is sent for education up to Cairo and then to London. Rather then becoming "refined" by the experience, he quickly bores with the women continually throwing themselves at his "exotic excitement". He deliberately lies to them about his background, his country's history, the meaning of his culture, and they don't care - they just want to be held by his ebony hands.

Both novels create meaning in the power of the river, with the way it twists and turns around obstacles and keeps going. It is water which brings new life and destroys existing ones. Both novels use a second hand narration style, so you are hearing a lot of the story from a more neutral observer.

Some people take exception with Season's focus-character, Mustafa, being a playboy. Really, he is in no way any worse than many novel protagonists! The only difference here is that the women he abandons then all decide life is not worth living :) Hopefully nobody was taking that as a serious fact-ridden narration, that this beautiful dark man was waltzing through London society leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake and it was another common happening. To me it was a social commentary on how certain types of individuals glamorize "powerful savages", give themselves over fully to the fantasy and then cannot deal with reality when it rears its head. Wrap this up with the aforementioned tongue-in-cheek references to Heart and you begin to understand where this was all coming from.

I loved the lyrical beauty of the telling, the wealth of details about Sudan life, about how individuals felt about the colonization of Sudan and the subsequent social upheavals. Changes are coming - they are hinted at throughout the story. Wooden water mills are turning into pumps. Cars are traveling roads once only seen by camels. Even so, a 30 year old widow who does not want to marry is forced into a wedding with a man 40 years her senior, solely because her father orders her to.

I think there's a lot to learn here, and that the journey is full of beautiful imagery. If you've read this once and it didn't make sense to you, then read Heart of Darkness. Read a book or two on the history of Sudan. Then come back to this, and see what new layers present themselves.
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on September 18, 2015
A book about nostalgia and roots. Once you've traveled the world, been educated by a higher level, you may not be able to feel comfortable where you once thought was your "comfort zone".
A lot of external and internal struggle of two very strong male characters.
Great, short read, but powerful impact.
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on September 21, 2015
The Enduring Legacy of Tayeb Salih

Of all the literature written by non-English speaking writers about the European colonial experience in Asia, Africa, and the Americas,, Tayeb Saleh's novel "Season of Migration to the North" is perhaps the most compelling and captivating narrative of all. If anything, the late Tayeb Saleh should have been awarded the Nobel Prize for this magnificent literary work which embodies the African as well as Arab-Muslim colonial experience in its entirety. No graduate and/or undergraduate course on comparative literature can be complete without reading and analyzing this masterpiece of the late Tayeb Saleh.
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on August 23, 2010
I started reading "Season of Migration . . ." based on a recommendation in Malcolm's 2008 "Arabian Nights." So I picked it up, and now I am finishing my second read. Obviously, I loved the book.

The narrative is structured similarly to certain taled in the "Nights," moving smoothly between the main narrator and the protagonist's POV. Dealing with some of the same themes as "Things Fall Apart," "Season" is at once darker and more uplifting than the former.

This is one that I will read over again.
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on April 12, 2017
Good writer, first time reading one of his novels. Great background on African culture
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on October 29, 2017
Good book needed it for my literature class
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on June 21, 2017
An all-time favorite. Some of the best prose work I've ever read.
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