Quentin Crewe

Birds Drop from the Skies

A Desert Dies

By

Viking 368pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

In the southern Darfur in Sudan, in 1982, I lay for a week giggling with malaria. I had planned to travel north, through El Fasher and on to where the Kababish wandered; then perhaps on the old Forty Days Road to Egypt. Had I gone, which the total absence of petrol prevented, I might have met Michael Asher.

He would have looked at me with disdain, for I would have been in a Land Rover, with European friends, encapsulated to a great extent in my own culture. Mr Asher would have been on a camel, by himself or with a Nurabi, a Nas Wad Hayder or even a perfidious Sarajabi. He would have been right. The only way to really understand the challenge of the desert, and the austere dignity of the nomads who live in it, is to travel alone and to lead their life exactly as they lead it.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,