Morning in Serra Mattu: A Nubian Ode

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A mosaic of interrelated stories exploding with personality, myth, and geohistorical weight, Morning in Serra Mattu is a profound, joyful meditation on life in modern Sudan.

Morning in Serra Mattu

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Arif Gamal seamlessly blends large-scale political realities with the local and the traditional: “old villages/whose ancient way is so composed/each single blade of grass is known/and in its place.” Epic in scope, spellbinding in its intimacy, generosity, and wisdom, Morning in Serra Mattu is the book we didn’t know we needed.

how thrilling it was in the earliest morning
to race barefoot down the sandy slopes and dunes
with all the bellowing goats
and dogs and sheep and other animals
for their first morning drink
and to swim in the fresh waters of the flowing river

while the thousand upon thousand
of high unhindered Nubian stars began to fall away
before a tinge of milky line along the hills

until light grew from nearly nothing
to an immensity
—from “Return to Serra Mattu”

Additional Information

Author Arif Gamal
Publisher McSweeney's Books
Page Count 150pp
Publication Size 6.25 x 8.25
Publication Notes hardcover
Publication Date April 15, 2014
ISBN 978-1938073892

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