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Tayeb Salih (1929–2009)

Author of Season of Migration to the North

26+ Works 2,010 Members 57 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Author Tayeb Salih was born in northern Sudan in 1929. He studied at the University of Khartoum and the University of London. He was one of the best known and most translated Arabic novelists of the 20th century. His works include Season of Migration to the North and The Wedding of Zein. He was show more also a broadcaster for the BBC Arabic Service, wrote a weekly column for the London-based Arabic language newspaper al Majalla, and worked at the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris. He died from complications related to a kidney condition on February 18, 2009. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Illustration by Zero.

Works by Tayeb Salih

Associated Works

African Short Stories (1985) — Contributor — 147 copies
The Anchor Book of Modern Arabic Fiction (2006) — Contributor — 103 copies
Under African Skies: Modern African Stories (1997) — Contributor — 93 copies
The Anchor Book of Modern African Stories (2002) — Contributor — 52 copies
Modern Arabic Short Stories (1967) — Contributor — 43 copies
Susan Hefuna : Pars pro Toto (2000) — Contributor — 22 copies
Arabic Short Stories (1983) — Contributor — 22 copies


Common Knowledge



It's too bad this pair of linked novellas isn't more widely available, since it's just as good as (or maybe even better than) Season of Migration to the North and The Wedding of Zein. Salih considered it his most important work, while Kirkus furrowed its brow and concluded it was "a bit too stately and mystical to fully engage Western readers".
mcastagne | 1 other review | Jul 31, 2023 |
This was a book that left me swirling with many thoughts, and it took me a while to process how I felt about it. The writing was rich and transporting, but it was also not a "fun hang" in that it did not seem, as a book, very kind to women. Of course, the world wasn't and isn't very kind to women much of the time (whether in high society Europe or rural North Africa), so perhaps that is only one way in which the book is honest, but it still makes me weary to read it one more time.

The book is Serious and has Important Themes and the writing is so lovely in places, but also I am just tired.… (more)
greeniezona | 46 other reviews | May 7, 2023 |

Dust rose up behind us, and I watched the bedouin running towards some tattered tents by some bushes southwards of us, where there were diminutive sheep and naked children. Where, O God, is the shade? Such land brings forth nothing but prophets. This drought can be cured only by the sky.

After studying in Europe and having taken a civil servant job in Khartoum, a man returns to his home village on a bend in the Nile only a few times a year. On one visit, he is astonished to meet another English-speaking man and is unsure of what to make of a Western-educated man living in a farming village where traditions remain unchanging and education is rare. Mustafa later shares his story, a remarkable one, with the narrator.

This was a remarkable book. Originally published in 1966, it holds many insights about the effects of colonialism that remain relevant today. The narrator allows the customs and traditions of his birthplace commit an injustice, with repercussions that shock everyone. There's a lot going on in this slim novel set in an obscure corner of Sudan and I'm glad to have read it.

The war ended in victory for us all: the stones, the trees, the animals, the iron, while I, lying under this beautiful, compassionate sky, feel that we are all brothers; he who drinks and he who prays and he who steals and he who commits adultery and he who fights and he who kills. The source is the same. No one knows what goes on in the mind of the Divine. Perhaps he doesn't care. Perhaps he is not angry.
… (more)
RidgewayGirl | 46 other reviews | Apr 24, 2023 |
Even though it’s a short book, I put it down and couldn’t finish it
Beautiful writing, but I lost the story and gave up
MarshaKT | 46 other reviews | Dec 22, 2022 |



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