Due to long bus rides and an extra long wait in the bank today I managed to finish Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah. To be entirely honest I am not sure what to say about this book. I was actually on my way to understanding it and almost enjoying it when it came to a very abrupt and rather ambiguous ending.

In Paradise which I believe the book is titled because of the belief from the characters that paradise exists and they (the characters) will eventually find their way there, the main character seems to drift through the years, some mentioned, some not. There is a confusing section where the main character, Yusuf, is admired and worshipped by the wife of his Uncle Aziz (who in actual fact is a man that his father sold him to in order to pay off debt). Throughout the book tenuous relationships are mentioned, and the child Yusuf grows into a handsome man who is admired by many, though he never seems to quite make that transition into adulthood that is witnessed in books such as The Color Purple.

Overall I was not hugely impressed with this book that was lauded as ‘wonderful’ and ‘enthralling’ but perhaps my enjoyment of Sunset Song just a few days ago eclipsed any enjoyment I may have found in the almost poetic prose of Gurnah.

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