A dynamic, beautifully orchestrated debut novel connecting five characters caught in the crosshairs of conflict on the Sudanese border.
A mysterious burnt corpse appears one morning in Saraaya, a remote border town between northern and southern Sudan. For five strangers on an NGO compound, the discovery foreshadows trouble to come. South Sudanese translator William connects the corpse to the sudden disappearance of cook Layla, a northern nomad with whom he’s fallen in love. Meanwhile, Sudanese American filmmaker Dena struggles to connect to her unfamiliar homeland, and white midwestern aid worker Alex finds his plans thwarted by a changing climate and looming civil war. Dancing between the adults is Mustafa, a clever, endearing twelve-year-old, whose schemes to rise out of poverty set off cataclysmic events on the compound.
Amid the paradoxes of identity, art, humanitarian aid, and a territory riven by conflict, William, Layla, Dena, Alex, and Mustafa must forge bonds stronger than blood or identity. Weaving a sweeping history of the breakup of Sudan into the lives of these captivating characters, Fatin Abbas explores the porous and perilous nature of borders—whether they be national, ethnic, or religious—and the profound consequences for those who cross them. Ghost Season is a gripping, vivid debut that announces Abbas as a powerful new voice in fiction.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Five strangers navigate civil unrest in this gripping novel about physical and emotional borders. The workers at a humanitarian-aid compound try to save lives in a remote border village as Sudan’s decades-long civil war barrels on. Debut author Fatin Abbas introduces us to translator William, American mapmaker Alex, cook Layla, filmmaker Dena, and local boy Mustafa, who helps with chores and cleaning. As one character falls in love, another goes missing, and yet another discovers a charred body, we’re pulled into a captivating tale of personal and political divides. Abbas creates a tangible sense of impending danger—and illuminates Sudan’s tumultuous history. Ghost Season is a very real-feeling saga of conflict, identity, and displacement.