A Line in the River : Khartoum, City of Memory by Jamal Mahjoub
A travelogue and memoir to rank alongside anything by Chatwin or Thubron' Jim Crace'
A most absorbing and rewarding book' Michael Palin
In 1956, Sudan gained independence from Britain. On the brink of a promising future, it instead descended into civil war and conflict. When the 1989 coup brought a hard-line Islamist regime to power, Jamal Mahjoub's family were among those who fled.
Almost twenty years later, he returned. Rediscovering the city in which his formative years were spent, Mahjoub encounters people and places he left behind. The capital contains the key to understanding Sudan's divided, contradictory nature and while exploring Khartoum's present - its changing identity and shifting moods; its wealthy elite and neglected poor - Mahjoub also delves into the country's troubled history.
His search for answers evolves into a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of identity, both personal and national. A Line in the River combines lyrical and evocative memoir with a nuanced exploration of a country's complex history, politics and religion. The result is both captivating and revelatory.