NYRoB Classics: Season of Migration to the North
I’ve been asked to write an introduction to Tayeb Salih’s seminal novel, Season of Migration to the North, for a new edition that will be coming out in the New York Review of Books Classics series. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’re probably aware that Salih’s book is one of my favorite Arabic novels. So it was a delight to be asked and a treat to do this piece.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this book, here’s a little blurb about it:
After many years of study in Europe, the young narrator of Season of Migration to the North returns to his village along the Nile in the Sudan, eager to make a contribution to the new postcolonial life of his country. Back home, he discovers a stranger among the familiar faces of childhood—the enigmatic Mustafa Sa’eed. Mustafa takes the young man into his confidence, telling him the story of his own years in London in the early part of the twentieth century, of his brilliant career as an economist, and of the series of fraught and deadly relationships with European women that led to a terrible public reckoning and his return to his native land.
But what is the meaning of Mustafa’s shocking confession? Mustafa disappears without explanation, leaving the young man —whom he has asked to look after his wife—in an unsettled and violent no-man’s-land between Europe and Africa, tradition and innovation, holiness and defilement, and man and woman, from which no one will escape unaltered or unharmed.
In a happy coincidence, this book will be coming out on April 14, a week before my novel, Secret Son, is released.