WHO: M.G. Vassanji
WHAT: THE MAGIC OF SAIDA, a novel
WHEN: Published by Knopf March 6, 2013
WHERE: Set mostly in Tanzania.
This book seems bound for glory.
“Vassanji’s new novel is a magic trick that reveals how it’s performed while in process. It has an old-fashioned, Conradian narrative construct: while recovering from malaria or madness, Kamal Punja, the befuddled protagonist, tells his story to Martin Kigoma, a publisher who may well be an unreliable narrator.
“And the story is complex. Kamal is a golo, or half-caste, the son of an Indian father and an African mother who was raised in Kilwa, a coastal backwater in colonial Tanzania. He escaped and found success as a doctor in Edmonton, Canada. What may or may not be an ordinary midlife crisis has brought him back to his origins, and led him to track down his first love, an African girl named Saida.
“As Kamal relates the colonial history—the successive waves of occupation, degradation, resistance, and modernization of his beloved Kilwa and its surroundings—Vassanji’s tactile prose amounts to the best sort of historical fiction because the history is integral to the story. Once the trick is completed, the magic must be shown for what it is: tragedy.”
—Michael Autry, in a starred review
“An ambitious, passionate work about racial identity, deracination and the unsolvable mysteries of the human heart.”
Publicist for this title:
Lena Khidritskaya | 212-572-2103 | firstname.lastname@example.org