Books · Read in 2022 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Gold Dust (Ibrahim al-Koni)

You have to in a certain frame of mind for this one


Title: Gold Dust
Author: Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
Elliot Colla (from Arabic)
Genre: Literary Fiction
First published: 1990
Edition: Paperback, published by Hoopoe in 2020

Rejected by his tribe and hunted by the kin of the man he killed, Ukhayyad and his thoroughbred camel flee across the desolate Tuareg deserts of the Libyan Sahara. Between bloody wars against the Italians in the north and famine raging in the south, Ukhayyad rides for the remote rock caves of Jebel Hasawna. There, he says farewell to the mount who has been his companion through thirst, disease, lust, and loneliness. Alone in the desert, haunted by the prophetic cave paintings of ancient hunting scenes and the cries of jinn in the night, Ukhayyad awaits the arrival of his pursuers and their insatiable hunger for blood and gold.


This is exactly the kind of oddball book I expect to like, being about a man and his camel. And yes, I did like it, but I did not love it. I am not sure whether it was the book or just my current mood.

What I did love about this book was how natural the way the main character cared about his piebald camel came across. It felt authentic and I believed it. However, every now and then the story itself lost me and it would take a page or two to be pulled back into the narrative. I found myself a little too easily distracted, but that could well be due to me being a bit scatterbrained at the moment.

I do think this is a novel I will re-read at another time and that will grow on me on said future re-read.

I am not quite sure who to recommend this book to, but if you like the sound of a novel about a man hanging out in the desert with his camel and making bad decisions, this may well be for you!

5 out of 7 stars

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