By the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature
A searing tale of a young woman re-discovering her troubled family history and finding herself in the process.
In post-World War II England, 17-year-old Dottie Badoura Fatma Balfour knows nothing of her family origins, and little of their history – or the abuse her ancestors suffered as they made their home in Britain. But Dottie knows what her family means to her, and in the wake of her mother's death, she's determined to keep the family together. She takes responsibility for her younger siblings, Sophie and Hudson.
But as Sophie drifts from man to man, and the confused Hudson is absorbed into a world of crime, Dottie is forced to consider her own needs. Feeling rootless in England, she seeks a space for herself and an identity through books and begins to clear a path through life. Gradually, Dottie gathers the confidence to take risks, to forge friendships and to challenge the labels that have been forced upon her.
For readers of Jhumpa Lahiri and Zadie Smith, Dottie is a deeply compassionate portrait of a second generation immigrant, a masterful examination of poverty and racism, and a psychologically nuanced story of family and survival.
About the Author
Abdulrazak Gurnah is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021. He is the author of ten novels: Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way, Dottie, Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award), Admiring Silence, By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award), Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize) The Last Gift, Gravel Heart, and Afterlives, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Fiction 2021 and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize. He was Professor of English at the University of Kent, and was a Man Booker Prize judge in 2016. He lives in Canterbury.
“[Gurnah's] sentences are deceptively soft, but the cumulative force for me felt like a sledgehammer. He has written work that is absolutely unflinching and yet at the same time completely compassionate and full of heart for people of East Africa. He is writing stories that are often quiet stories of people who aren't heard, but there's an insistence there that we listen.” —Maaza Mengiste, author of THE SHADOW KING, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize
“A novel that shows Gurnah's deep compassion and psychological adroitness, completely without sentimentality.” —Nobel Prize for Literature
“Gurnah writes with wonderful insight about family relationships and he folds in the layers of history with elegance and warmth.” —The Times
“[A] captivating storyteller, with a voice both lyrical and mordant, and an oeuvre haunted by memory and loss. His intricate novels of arrival and departure … reveal, with flashes of acerbic humour, the lingering ties that bind continents, and how competing versions of history collide.” —Guardian