Season of Migration to the North says the storyline of Mustafa Sa'eed, a prodigy from Sudan who goes to examine first in Cairo and then in London, where he hunts women but eventually falls for just one himself. After having a matrimony consummated by violence and a jail sentence, he comes back to Sudan, moving to a little town on the Nile, where he marries again and has children. He disappears mysteriously in a flood. Season of Migration to the North is sophisticated, in its framing, in its episodic style, in its use of metaphor, and in the variety of materials it canvasses. It details on colonial arrogance, intimate mores and the position of women, the politics of independent Sudan, and much more. You will discover lyrical fragments with no direct connection to the story, explaining the rhythms of agriculture, travel over the Nile, a spontaneous evening celebration by travellers in the desert, and so forth. And there are personal references to European books about encounters with the amazing in Africa and the center East. Most of this is only hinted at, rather than elaborated on, but there is enough here to keep students of post-colonial books busy for a long period. Season of Migration to the North is short and immediate, however, and can be appreciated without any literary theory.
http://dannyreviews. com/h/Season_Migration_North. html
'The feeling that. . . I have bedded the goddess of Death and gazed out after Hell from the aperture of her eye - it's a feeling no man can see right now. The taste of that night continues to be on in my mouth, avoiding me from savouring anything else. ' (153)
Elsewhere MS says of this marriage that he "was the invader who had result from the South, and this was the icy battlefield that [he] wouldn't normally make a safe come back" (160).
On his return to the community, the narrator at last enters a key room that MS possessed built next to his home - a replica of any United kingdom gentleman's drawing room! Take great pride in of place has been given to MS's painting of his 'white' partner, Jean Morris. The room also contains a reserve, purportedly the "Life Report" of MS, dedicated "To people who see with one attention. . . and find out things as. . . either Eastern or Western" (150-151). This brief account cannot accommodate the complicated structure, subtle allusiveness and richly metaphoric style of this difficult text, but can provide some sign of its ironic (or sardonic) perspective and of its profound and enduring relevance to the political and social predicament of many Africans. Its demonstration of the harsh parallels between colonial racism and local sexism confirms that this content material is, as Salih himself has stated, "a plea for toleration" in any way levels. It really is an remarkable work.
http://www. arabworldbooks. com/Readers2004/articles/tayebsaleh2E. html
That being said, the next storyline, informed by 'Mustafa, ' a stranger to the town, revolves around him using weak United kingdom women for sex and then giving them so heart-broken they turn to suicide. While it's easy to read this as a comment more on colonisation, I still experienced uncomfortable finding so a lot of women reduced to objects or symbols. Since Mustafa was revealing the story, though, I really believe the objectification rested with him and his character, as opposed to Salih. This didn't always make reading it any more pleasing, but it performed justify it, for me at least. Is it possible to sense the murkiness Personally i think on this aspect of the reserve? My wrestling with it made my experience of the publication less exciting, but it didn't reduce the book's value in my sight. I didn't feel a similar inner fight over the problems of colonisation lifted in the e book. Mustafa is the principal engine of this; he tells his story of being a good, poor child from Sudan who eventually ends up going first to Cairo and then to London to become 'famous' economics professor who concurrently appears to spend most of his energy sleeping with white British isles women. He fundamentally learns how to turn English prejudices about the 'incredible' to his benefits, and he talks about seducing young ladies with testimonies of imaginary animals working across the tough, evocative surroundings of his youth. Throughout his narrative, he's portrayed as lacking something vitally individual, some sort of comfort towards his fellow types that leaves him all frosty intellectas a son, he doesn't learn how to connect along with his schoolmates and doesn't even seem to be bothered by his friendlessness. And once he's an adult, while he must enjoy sex (why else seduce so many women?), he never seems any emotional attachment to the ladies, and I don't believe he even recognizes it in an effort to connect a great deal as a way to use and dominate. None of the women he encounters are ever before shown as real human beings, although the only one to avoid him does have more complexity about her than others. As I described in the above mentioned paragraph, it's all too easy to read this as a metaphor for colonisation. But even while Salih is discovering this, he never helps it be a black-and-white issuenuances and complexities are explored, and he leaves up to the audience to attempt to find out what's being said
Your comments on Mustafa's psychological coldness & exploitation of white women even while they're also exploiting him reminds me SO highly of Ellison's Invisible Man, and the narrator's conflicted romance with white ladies in that novel. As if you with Season of Migration to the North, I got never sure how to experience that facet of the story, especially since I can't help seeking the objectification with Ellison as well as his narrator. Complicated products.
During the whole story I used to be anticipating a shocking twist at the end where we find out that Mustafa Sa'eed and the narrator are the same person. By the end of the e book I discovered the narrator was swimming in the Nile river when he finally determines consciously on living, which Mustafa Sa'eed had dissapeared before in the storyline while swimming in the Nile. This implies possibly they are the same character, although not obviously enough to leave me content with such a final result. At wikipedia they need to have had a similar idea, because they explained Mustafa Sa'eed as the narrator's doppelganger. Their description lead me to believe maybe the narrator had returned so shook from his experience in the West that he didn't know if he wanted to live anymore, therefore he had looked at himself in 3rd person through the character of Mustafa Saeed and then finally decided on living while going swimming the Nile!
http://astripedarmchair. wordpress. com/2010/06/11/nyrb-classics-season-of-migration-to-the-north-and-alone-alone/
Font and Edna go back to Egypt at the eruption of the Suez crisis, but Ram remains on in Britain, is ejected because his visa has lapsed, and then works for a period in a manufacturing plant in Germany. He is afraid of witnessing Edna again when he gets back to Cairo and he also avoids seeing Didi Nackla, a young Egyptian journalist who got later lived with them in London. There he had turned to Didi, despairing of Edna's emotions for him, and initiated a intimate relationship with her. Self-deprecating as he is, Ram allows us only glimpses of the actually greatly risky politics business he's engaged in. He has been collecting proof the torture and murder of politics activists in Egyptian jails, where (in a style typical of the culture) wealthier or higher-class prisoners will never be put through such treatment.
http://www. litnet. co. za/cgi-bin/giga. cgi?cmd=cause_dir_news_item&news_id=51970&cause_id=1270
England is giving Egypt, finally, in 1954. The Egyptian army has overthrown the royal family and instituted a republican system that both embodies the nationalistic and intensifying hope of several Egyptians, and also becomes more and more repressive. The individuals, Ram and Font, are Egyptians who are Anglophone and upper class, and are also out of touch with the new order.
Ram is an informed, well-connected Copt, probably in his mid-twenties. His closest friend is Font, another Copt. Ram memory and Font put in four years in Britain and are obsessed with English civilization and culture, nevertheless they also despise English colonialism and hypocrisy plus they participated in guerilla struggling with against the English during the Suez Battle. The Egypt of BEER WITHIN THE SNOOKER CLUB is at a stage of political, economic, and religious doubt or indecision. One of the central issues of the book is, "What is an Egyptian?" Along with the same doubt or indecision extends to Ram's personal life: how to proceed with himself, if to live attached to the purse strings of his rich aunt, if to marry, and who?
http://www. amazon. com/Beer-Snooker-Twentieth-Century-Lives/dp/0941533816
He has been informed in the British school system in Cairo, and thinking of the mythical London of Piccadilly Circus and pubs, he and his best friends, Font and Edna, happen to be England to experience sexual and politics freedom and find as well dreariness and meanness and small-mindedness. There he and his enthusiast, Edna, drift aside, and he profits to Cairo knowing that England has 'killed something natural' in him.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
How to be kind? And thoughts on Beer in the Snooker Club
It occurs if you ask me that folks in Great britain, at least, are starved of opportunities to be kind, to be useful. If one watches the eagerness with which people leap up on the bus when someone even nearing later years gets on, and the keenness with which a stranger directs you to definitely the address you can find, or gives unsolicited advice in a shop, then one feels the horrible and unexploited desire to be 'good', when so many situations call for one to be cynical: critical and uncompromising for concern with being rooked, being laughed at, being 'unnatural'.
Our suspicion is thus killing something in us, for this shows to us day in, day out, the frightful, hard, caught creature we have become, with this knowing faces iced in a semi-permanent frown or sneer.
On a suffocating instructor ride, Bath-London, the hulking vehicle transformed a difficult nook, and I witnessed from the windows an older man making a sign to the driver that is was clear and safe for him to enhance. It was a totally superfluous, foolish action, as red-lights prevented the other vehicles from advancing into our slowly turning tail, but who amongst us could have wanted to raise your voice, "what are you doing old man; there is no need for your help. "?
After I completed reading Beer in the Snooker Golf club by Egyptian writer Waguih Ghali, I lived for some time with that publication in my even in Cairo overlooking the depressing Ministry of the Interior, and wandering the streets of downtown, burdened further with the very thought of Ghali killing himself in the free bedroom of United kingdom publisher, Diana Athill. I sensed an enormous sorrow that I possibly could not fully explain by my very own loneliness as a foreigner.
Later I delivered to the book and considered Ram's role in his own life, and found it an excruciatingly circumscribed and pitiful one. Memory, that narrator of Beer in the Snooker Membership, given birth to to a landowning Coptic Religious family, is the sole son of the poor relative: his mother was widowed young and now relies upon the generosity - with all its attendant commitments - of her siblings. He has been informed in the British isles college system in Cairo, and dreaming of the mythical London of Piccadilly Circus and pubs, he and his close friends, Font and Edna, happen to be England to see sexual and political freedom and discover as well dreariness and meanness and small-mindedness. There he and his fan, Edna, drift aside, and he comes back to Cairo understanding that England has 'killed something natural' in him.
What Ram subsequently does not do is to do something out his compassion, and desire to have other people. And this is throughout a period in Egypt, the later 1950s, post the 1952 'revolution', when the young people are moving from the spaces and functions formerly proscribed totally for them by their parents, a corrupt elite and the United kingdom presence. Font - a dogmatic Marxist, scornful of his privileged roots, adopts the garb and position of a street vegetable seller. Ram memory, finds this absurdly and depressingly 'gimmicky' as the communism of Edna, an Egyptian Jew, and her incessant championing of the fellaheen leaves him cold.
So, he reasons, to act 'righteously' in the defense of the downtrodden, is to be a parody both of oneself and ones root base, and of these that one is boasting to operate for; it is to proscribe who and what's authentically Egyptian and also to disdain and reject everything - even one's innocent childhood - and everyone else that will not take this purging seriously.
Ram does respond briefly - exclusively and secretly - to send photos to the newspaper publishers that expose abuses by the government. But he jokes that for his pains - the true risks included, he prefers the theory of
having gone to prison, rather than the heroic act of actually heading.
His strong hatred of his rich French-speaking family's disingenuineness, their greed and cowardice and sham magnanimousness, will not provoke him to do something and speak upon any legitimised, public platform against both them and their school. Rather, Ram selects to expose himself to ridicule and mere disapproval by performing apparently childish pranks - driving his odious American-educated cousin into the pool, making a scene at a society party. By making it impossible for anyone around him to consider his protests as serious and reputable political acts, he can be disruptive and irreverent from within; but this is a lonely and claustrophobic role which engenders only higher cynicism and psychological numbness in the son.
As long as Ram memory divides his time taken between his politically devoted friends and a depraved and decadent elite, he has only the exceptional possibility to show kindness, for with the past he feels too self-consciously as though he is executing a politics or cultural role, and with the latter to be able to avoid the powerful obligation after him to be the good son, he can only be flippant - 'naughty' and 'rude'.
http://madny. blogspot. com/2007/05/how-to-be-kind-and-thoughts-on-beer-in. html
there is this comparsion of the eastern culture vs the american culture that made the book intresting to view in one point. ram the narrator is being confused by the two worlds that he has lived with, although he finds himself more with the european culture alternatively the eastern.
I don't know whether or not he planned this, but I appreciated his terse writing style. I also found it attractive to discover that Egypt had its "lost era. " Some of the depictions of Cairo and its society and undoubtedly still true today, such as Gezeira Golf club, which I am a member. http://www. goodreads. com/book/show/1231621. Beer_in_the_Snooker_Club?page=1
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