A masterwork by the 2021 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, in which two immigrants’ conflicting stories about their common homeland reveal the buried truths that drove them from it
On a late November afternoon, Saleh Omar arrives at Gatwick Airport from his native Zanzibar. With him he has a small bag in which lies his most precious possession—a mahogany box containing incense. He used to own a furniture shop, have a house and be a husband and father. Now he is an asylum seeker from paradise, silence his only protection. Meanwhile, Latif Mahmud, a distinguished young professor, lives quietly alone in his London flat. When the two encounter each other in an English seaside town, the narratives each carries of their mutual past begin to unravel—revealing an infinitely more fascinating story of love and betrayal, seduction and possession, and of a people desperately trying to find stability amidst the maelstrom of their times.