Book Notes: Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North 

Season of Migration to the North by the Sudanese writer Tayeb Salih is considered by many to be the greatest Arab novel of the twentieth century. And I’m not surprised because it’s a truly outstanding work of art. 

Many of those who are unfamiliar with postcolonial literature think it’s all about evil colonizers and their pathetic, miserable victims. Nothing could be further from the truth. These works of fiction are never one-dimensional or superficial. 

Salih’s novel is short but it gives so much material for analysis that one can spend years discussing it and still not run out of questions and observations. 

I’ve started out this year by reading a few books of dubious quality and I’m glad I finally found such an unforgettable novel.


3 thoughts on “Book Notes: Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North ”

  1. It is a fantastic book. What is very interesting is that it was banned when it was published originally in Arabic (in a highly truncate and heavily censored form, in a magazine) for obscenity. It was written during the 1964 October Revolution in Sudan and, when read through that lens, is such a rich study of political unrest and turmoil, and the sexual politics therein.


    1. Also, its very genesis is interesting. Salih worked basically simultaneously with his translator, and the English version (not censored and highly acclaimed on publication) was written basically simultaneously and with full approval by its author.


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