Published Nov 2014
Winner of the Prix de l’Astrolabe in France
Yasin is driving through Europe in a dilapidated Peugeot 504 with his seven-year-old son Leo. He’s not sure where they’re going. He just knows he’s thirty-seven years old, his wife is about to divorce him and this is his last chance to explain to his son who he is and where he comes from. The problem is that Yasin isn’t sure of the answer to these questions himself. Born in the Sudan to an English mother and an Arab father, he has two passports but no national identity. When he met his English wife, he thought that love could transcend borders. Now he is coming to see that, wherever you travel, you take the ghosts of your past with you.
As he and Leo drift through Germany to Paris in search of Europe’s history, and onwards via Provence to Spain to find Yasin’s ex-lover and his lost brother, Yasin reflects on the tragi-comic ironies of his displaced life and the kind of mixed-up world his son will inhabit. When they finally wash up on the Costa Brava, once the border between the Christian and Muslim worlds, he and Leo are on the verge of separation but the brink of understanding.
A rich, beautifully considered novel.
Sharp insight and moving family drama.
An humane and original voice.