The World Unseen


In 1950’s South Africa, free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community, and the new apartheid-led government, by running a cafe with Jacob her “coloured” business partner. When she meets Miriam, a young wife and mother, their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her. When Amina helps Miriam’s sister-in-law to hide from the police, a chain of events is set in motion that changes both women forever.
The World Unseen transports us to a vibrant, colourful world, a world that divides white from black and women from men, but one that might just allow an unexpected love to survive. Now a major motion picture from award-winning director Shamim Sarif.

Winner of the Betty Trask Award and the Pendleton May First Novel Award

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It is an impressive debut. Sarif’s story brings together the descriptive power of the novelist with the screenwriter’s mastery of dialogue
The Times

I read The World Unseen at a gulp, so entrancing is it’s style, so complete it’s tale of love and betrayal, and so accurate it’s depiction of the physical, social and political scene…
Johannesburg Star – Book of the Week

A really wonderful book. Sarif’s writing is delicate and confident and the characters are real and very believable.
Maggie O’Farrell, author, ‘After You’d Gone’ and ‘My Lover’s Lover’

The characters shine with the beauty of Sarif’s deceptively skilful prose which keeps your eyes skating along the narrative in sheer enjoyment. I read this book in two long sittings, unable to put it down.

Sarif’s elegant and understated debut eschews emotional fireworks, and offers an unusual insight into early apartheid… a novel that lives up to its title
The Times – Play

In the tradition of Vikram Seth, Sarif throws down a literary gauntlet that very few writers will be able to pick and return with any conviction.

Highly original… this is a stylishly written work. Sarif is near faultless…
India Weekly

If you only read one novel for the rest of the year, make it this one. Sarif is a new writer who deserves to win prizes.

One of the most promising of a new generation of British writers…Sarif’s debut is confident, original and jam-packed with insight’
The List