Paperbacks: Gold Dust, by Ibrahim al-Koni

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The Independent Culture

Imagine Cormac McCarthy's savage lyricism in a Paul Bowles desert landscape and you begin to enter the bleakly beautiful world of this mesmerising, fable-like novel. Libya's Al-Koni draws on the lore of the Sahara's Tuareg nomads in this tragedy of rebellion and revenge. Rejecting his noble clan, Ukhayyad prefers the company of his pedigree camel: a royal beast, splendidly evoked in Elliott Colla's radiant translation. Yet a war and a wedding drag the lad out of myth and into history. Trade ousts honour, and gold seals his doom.