The unnamed narrator of this dazzling novel escapes from Zanzibar to England knowing that he will probably never return. In his new country, things are not quite as he imagined – the school where he teaches is cramped and violent, and he quickly forgets how it feels to belong. But when he meets a beautiful, rebellious woman named Emma, and when Emma, turns away from her white, middle-class roots to offer him love and bear him a child, the narrator chooses to hide his past from his new family and his present circumstance from his family back in Zanzibar. Twenty years later, when the barriers at last come down in Zanzibar, he is compelled to go back. What he discovers there, in a story potent with truth, will change the entire vision of his life.
This is a 1996 novel by the 2021 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.