This spellbinding new novel from New York Times Notable Author Leila Aboulela tells the unforgettable story of an embattled young woman's coming of age during the revolutionary war in nineteenth-century Sudan.
When Akuany and her brother are orphaned in a village raid, they're taken in by a young merchant Yaseen who promises to care for them, a vow that tethers him to Akuany through their adulthood. As revolution begins to brew, led by the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Sudan begins to prise itself from Ottoman rule, and everyone must choose a side.
Yaseen feels beholden to stand against this false Mahdi, a decision that threatens to splinter his family. Meanwhile, Akuany moves through her young adulthood and across the country alone, sold and traded from house to house, with only Yaseen as her intermittent lifeline. Their struggle mirrors the increasingly bloody struggle for Sudan itself - for freedom, safety and the possibility of love.
River Spirit illuminates a fraught and bloody reckoning with the history of a people caught in the crosshairs of imperialism. This is a powerful tale of corruption, coming of age and unshakeable devotion - to a cause, to one's faith and to the people who become family.
‘A novel of extraordinary sympathy and insight … a wonderful achievement.’ Abdulrazak Gurnah, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 'River Spirit had me gripped from the first page. This is real history, imagined in splendid detail – a story of ordinary people caught in extraordinary times. River Spirit is a triumph of storytelling.’ Aminatta Forna ‘Aboulela’s writing soars. She joins writers like Maaza Mengiste, Namwali Serpell and Ayesha Haruna Atta in excavating history, breathing life into it and presenting it in a new light. It is so far my best read this year.’ Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi ‘In rich, evocative detail, Aboulela captures one of the most important moments in Sudanese history. You must read this.’ Dolen Perkins-Valdez ‘Leila Aboulela weaves together strands of Sudan’s history in this fascinating and unforgettable tale. Aboulela uses elegant and poetic prose to create a masterpiece. This is a story that demands to be read.’ Goretti Kyomuhendo ‘Painted with the words of an artist, this novel is a historical portrait of freedom. Aboulela skilfully draws the uncertain colours of what freedom means to different individuals in a Mahdist Sudan to the last full stop.' Zukiswa Wanner
Captivating … Through a compelling chorus of voices … Aboulela unspools the fraught story of Sudan, as freedom and faith do battle.' * Daily Mail *
‘Dazzling … A love story that endures’ * New York Times *
Dimensions: 225mm x 144mm x 25mm