Our editor, a seasoned book worm since childhood, will personally recommend and review one or more books each month. This month's title is "The In-between World of Vikram Lall" by two-time Giller Prize Winner M. G. Vassanji.
Born in colonial Kenya, Vikram Lall comes of age at the same moment as the colony, which in 1953 is celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II even as the Mau Mau independence movement is challenging British rule. But while Kenya is being torn apart by idealism, doubt and violent political upheaval, Vic and his sister Deepa begin to search for their place in the world. Neither colonists nor African, neither white nor black, the Indian brother and sister find themselves somewhere in between in their band of playmates: Bill and Annie, British children, and Njoroge, an African boy. These are the friendships that will haunt the rest of their lives.
"There is something to be said about a book that succeeds in being emotionally removed and yet heartbreaking at the same time. Such is the case with this book. You never really get a sense of feeling from the book's protagonist -- a man who introduces himself as having 'the distinction of having been numbered one of Africa's most corrupt men, a cheat of monstrous and reptilian cunning.' Despite this, as his story progresses you find that you relate to him more and more. It is at the same time a detached and vivid tale that deserves attention from many angles. It simultaneously conquers many issues, from the complexity of race relations to the unending and all-too-human quest for belonging and acceptance. For all its complexity and dispassionate prose, it is easily described in one word: 'mesmerizing'." Stacey Dowswell, Book Store Editor
The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (Hardcover)
The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (Paperback)
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