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richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih, Al-Tayyib Salih Rating: 3.25* of fiveThe Book Report: A young Sudanese man, away in England studying for a university degree, returns in some disgrace to his native Nile-side village to lick his wounds. Mustafa, the village Scheherezade, tells the amorous adventures that were his years in the then-colonial power of England. A tragedy occurs, and life isn't the same. Or is it? Will it be? The last three pages of the book are a breathtakingly lovely statement of that question. My Review: Published in 1966, the English edition I read was translated and published in 1989. This book is hailed far and wide as THE post-colonial novel of east-west relations.Okay. Whatever.The Sudan has, since the book came out, imploded and become a colossally failed state. It makes me a lot less able to think about the world presented here as relevant to any kind of relations, except those of the past to the imagined present.But gawddam is the translated text beautimous! The sentences are complex, and lovely, and the images painted across the canvas behind my eyes alternated between photorealistic idealized lacquered miniatures and Rothko-esque swathes of emotionally charged color. It sweeps the reader off his feet and plops him into the middle of a lot of sex scenery. That was the rub (!) for me, as I foreswore womenfolk as sex partners a number of years ago, and one would need to like the experience of heterosexual intercourse to appreciate fully (!) the salubriously salacious sexuality of Mustafa.I kept wanting him to finish up already and talk about the good stuff.Of which this is an example, from the end of the book:I entered the water as naked as when my mother bore me. When I first touched the cold water I felt a shudder go through me, then the shudder was transformed into a sensation of wakefulness. The river was not in full spate as during the days of the flooding nor yet was it at its lowest level. … I left him talking and went out. I did not let him complete the story. … My feet led me to the river bank as the first glimmerings of dawn made their appearance in the east. I would dispel my rage by swimming.Economical, evocative, and in the context of the tale being told, perfect as what they are...valediction.