ALTHOUGH HUNDREDS OF thousands of copies of Season oj Migration to the North have been sold throughout the Arab world, and although two years ago a panel of Arab writers and critics selected it as the most important Arab novel of the twentieth century, its author's name, to say nothing of his work, is unfair to the English-speaking world at large. Now that this complex and compact masterpiece, already translated into some twenty different languages, has appeared as a Penguin Modern Classic one can only hope that this injustice will be remedied.
Salih's narrator, like Salih himself, has left his native Sudan to study in England. After a seven-year absence, he returns home to his 'small village at the bend of the Nile' and at once feels 'as though a piece of ice were melting inside me'. Soon he learns of a