Published Mar 2018
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 travelogue and memoir to rank alongside anything by Chatwin or Thubron.