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Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih

Season of Migration to the North - Denys Johnson-Davies, Ṭayyib Ṣāliḥ, Laila Lalami

A novella about a Sudanese man who returns from studying abroad and meets a sex-crazed psychopath who also lived in Europe and wants to tell the narrator all about his encounters with women, aka “his prey,” in which he encouraged them to exoticize him and finally drove them all to suicide with the power of his penis. Except one, whom he married, then murdered (not a spoiler). For real.

Okay, look, this is a well-written book that manages to say a lot about colonialism in relatively few pages (though the writing is on the dense side so it’ll take longer than you may expect). Also, most of it is spent in the head of the narrator, who seems like a thoughtful and sensible person. Unfortunately, none of the women in it bear more than a passing resemblance to real human beings. From a cultural literacy standpoint I’m glad to have read this, but it left me feeling icky.