African Titanics is the untold tale of the African boat people and their desperate exodus to the merciless shores of the Mediterranean. The novel is one of fleeting yet profound friendships, perseverance born of despair and the power of stories to overcome the difficulties of the present. Alternating between fast-paced action and meditative reflection, the novel follows the adventures of Eritrean migrant Abdar. As he journeys north, the narrative mirrors the rhythm of his travels, at one moment speeding away from bandits in the Sahara and at the next patiently awaiting news of a calm sea, maintaining a constant tension between life and death, hope and despair.
Connecting today’s migrants with legendary adventurers of the past, Eritrean author Abu Bakar Khaal places the phenomenon of migration in a broad perspective. The “bug” which grips the hearts and minds of young Africans is just one of many phases which Africa has traversed in its long history from man’s first cradle. With moments of comedy interspersing the harsh reality of migration, African Titanics provides an intimate take on a phenomenon so often in the news. African Titanics is a fascinating new contribution to Arabic literature and one of only a few fictional works by an Eritrean author to be translated into English.
Abu Bakr Khaal is an Eritrean novelist who now lives in Denmark after spending many years in Libya. He was a member of the Eritrean Liberation Front for a long period of time and fought in many battles against the Ethiopian occupation. African Titanics is his third novel following The Scent of Arms and Barkantiyya: Land of the Wise Woman.