Born in East Africa, Yusuf has few qualms about the journey he is to make. It never occurs to him to ask why he is accompanying Uncle Aziz or why the trip has been organised so suddenly, and he does not think to ask when he will be returning. But the truth is that his 'uncle' is a rich and powerful merchant and Yusuf has been pawned to him to pay his father's debts. Paradise is a rich tapestry of myth, dreams and Biblical and Koranic tradition, the story of a young boy's coming of age against the backdrop of an Africa increasingly corrupted by colonialism and violence.
'Many layered, violent, beautiful and strange ... a poetic and vividly conjured book about Africa and the brooding power of the unknown' Independent on Sunday 'An aural archive of a lost Africa ... Tangling travel adventures, social documentary, political indictment and a doomed love story ... Paradise is alive with the unexpected. In it, an obliterated world is enthrallingly retrieved' Sunday Times 'Gurnah evokes his world in poetic prose which is pure and lucid - a small paradise in itself ... The pleasures, sadnesses and losses in all the shining facets of this book are lingering and exquisite' Guardian 'Paradise is that rare thing, a novel that is totally convincing in the vivid physical world it presents, yet transcending that world and reaching into the universal. Folk tale, travel story, drama of love and loss, by turns touching and horrifying, it is a novel to be grateful for' Barry Unsworth