The Condition of the Old Warrior

The Condition of the Old Warrior
(working title)
أحوال المحارب القديم
(Ahwal a muharib al qadim)

Written by

(الحسن بكري)
A view onto the richness of Sudanese Arab and African cultures through an encounter between a warrior and his healer

Haju the Funj visits an old Hausa healer called Faki Harun (West African healers are well-known in Sudan), and asks him to cure his lame leg, a curse that has struck many Arab tribes from Halfa to the Rizeygat, reminiscent of the ancient Abu Zayd al-Hilali’s curse. He has an odd relationship with Faki Harun’s three daughters, to whom he tells many stories related to his participation in the “Liberation War,” together with other strange characters like Radiyya. The era of the novel remains vague until the end, when the reader discovers that the Liberation War is actually the sum of all the wars that have devastated the country, from the Funj era to the modern civil war, if not all the wars worldwide—Haju mentions historical figures from varying historical periods from Antiquity to Modern History, like Assurbanipal, ‘Uqba bin Nafi‘, Gordon, Kitchener, al-Mahdi, Hassan Turabi, and John Garang, among others.

Approximate number of pages: 207 p.

Foreign rights: contact the author


Translation samples

Reasons to publish this book

The novel is written in a beautiful, sophisticated language, mixing both Arab and African cultures, perfectly summarising the complexity of Sudanese culture, as well as time and space. It belongs in the realm of magical realism, much appreciated in the West, though its African version, well developed in Sudan, is less known than its Latin American counterpart.

Prizes and awards

  • Tayeb Salih Prize in 2013
Reviewed by Xavier Luffin