A Line in the River: Khartoum, City of Memory
'A travelogue and memoir to rank alongside anything by Chatwin or Thubron' Jim Crace 'A most absorbing and rewarding book' Michael Palin A moving portrait, part history, part memoir, of Sudan - once the largest, most diverse country in Africa - and its self-destruction. In 1956, Sudan gained Independence from Britain. On the brink of a promising future, it instead descended into civil war and conflict, including the crisis in Darfur that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and driven many more from their homes. 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 to a country on the brink of rupture. 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, one turbulent with the rivalry between Christians and Muslims. 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.
A moving portrait, part history, part memoir, of Sudan - once the largest, most diverse country in Africa - and its self-destruction
Jamal Mahjoub's absorbing portrait of Khartoum is equally as intimate and painfully detached as the writer's own relationship with his birthplace. Both his city and his book are enthralling in their complexities and their subtlety. A Line in the River provides an enticing first encounter for those readers who have never seen the confluence of the Niles - but it is also an affecting and heartfelt reminder, for those of us who have passed time in Khartoum, why it is we long and fear for it so deeply. I have been waiting more than fifty years for this book -- Jim Crace A Line in The River is a fine and very readable celebration of a city that has never had its fair share of attention. There is something bracing about the way Jamal Mahjoub awakens our interest in somewhere we know so little about, and about which there is so much we ought to know. He tells the story of Khartoum and Sudan from both an African and a western perspective which makes the book informative and accessible, and always held together by the intimacy of his personal voyage of discovery -- Michael Palin
Jamal Mahjoub was born in London and grew up in Khartoum, Sudan. Since then he has settled in a number of other cities, including London, Cairo, Aarhus, Barcelona and, more recently, Amsterdam. He is the author of seven novels, and his work - fiction and non-fiction - has been critically acclaimed and widely translated. He has published a number of crime novels under the pen name Parker Bilal. jamalmahjoub.com