Abdulrazak Gurnah

Abdulrazak Gurnah is a Tanzanian-born novelist and academic who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2021. His work often explores themes of colonialism, displacement, and refugee life, drawing on his own experiences as an immigrant from Zanzibar to the United Kingdom. Gurnah's notable works include 'Paradise', which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and 'Desertion'. He has also served as a professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Paradise

    "Paradise" is a novel set in early 20th century colonial East Africa, where a young boy named Yusuf is given away by his father to settle a debt with a wealthy merchant. The story follows Yusuf's journey as he travels with the merchant through the diverse and complex landscapes of the African continent, encountering different cultures, communities, and the harsh realities of colonial exploitation. As Yusuf matures, he grapples with issues of freedom, identity, and personal autonomy against the backdrop of a world marked by violence, trade, and the impact of European colonialism.

    The 6159th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Desertion

    "Desertion" is a novel that intertwines two love stories set in East Africa, spanning the mid-20th century. The narrative begins with the taboo romance between a British colonial official and a local woman in the 1890s, a relationship that is abruptly severed, leaving a legacy of silence and pain. The story then shifts to the 1950s, where the impact of the earlier affair resonates through the lives of new characters, revealing the complexities of love, race, and betrayal against the backdrop of a society in the throes of political and social upheaval. The novel explores themes of cultural collision, the enduring consequences of personal choices, and the intricate tapestry of human connections that shape individual destinies and collective histories.

    The 8682nd Greatest Book of All Time