Research Article

Post-Colonial Experiences: Based on Abdulrazak Gurnah’s “Desertion” and Other Novels: Rewriting Cultural History



Shelley has once rightly stated that “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”, establishing the concept of a pen being mightier than the sword. The evolution of literary works has transcended beyond ages and phases of political and social developments, marking the birth of concepts like colonialism, post-colonialism, and neo-colonialism; Each having its own perspective and impact on the readers and the societies, post-colonialism took its stand at the zenith during the late 1970s, foraying its way into the sublime identities and efficacies of influencing the minds of the society. The current study is conducted as a critical review of the novel, Desertion by Abdulrazak Gurnah, one of the most controversial yet admired novelists from Zanzibar, Tanzania. The novel essentially opens in the backdrop of 1899 along the East African coast, wherein the story’s protagonist is a white stranger, sick and wounded, staggering and deserted in a small East African town. Later the stranger is taken to home by a local shop owner Hassan Ali, to have him taken care of by his family. However, with the news of the stranger staying with the Hassan Ali family, the British Colonial officers arrive to claim him. Contradictorily, before he can surrender himself to the British colonial officers, Martin Pearce, the stranger, falls madly in love with Hassan Ali’s sister, Rehanah. This paper provides a critical review of the agreements and disagreements surrounding the colonial and post-colonial experiences, concept building, and its influence on human feelings and social existences. Through the character of Martin Pearce, Gurnah wishes to represent his belief in ideating human feelings to know no boundaries. Martin’s intense love for Rehanah is a way of portraying the dissuasion of the writer to break the “glass ceiling” of colonialism and post-colonialism and think beyond the social barriers and shackles.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

5 (9)





How to Cite

Brainee, H. J. (2022). Post-Colonial Experiences: Based on Abdulrazak Gurnah’s “Desertion” and Other Novels: Rewriting Cultural History. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 5(9), 153–159.



Colonialism, Post-colonialism, Narratives, Cross-cultural association, Social and cultural desertion