In a town on the Tanzanian coast, against the background of German colonial rule in East Africa (Deutsch-Ostafrika) in the late nineteenth to mid-twentieth century, Hamza, Afiya and Ilyas try to cope with everything life throws at them. After working as a servant for a German officer, Hamza returns to his home village, where he falls in love with Afiya. She was raised by an “uncle” and “aunt” who treated her badly and is finally offered the chance of a better life by her brother Ilyas, who ran away from home as a child before his sister was born. The man who connects them all is Khalifa, grumpy but full of good gossip as well. Gurnah, the winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature, has very successfully combined big world events such as colonialism and war with the small pleasures and setbacks in private lives.