Publisher description for The in-between world of Vikram Lall / M.G. Vassanji.


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Counter The Book of Secrets, winner of the first Giller prize, brings us a novel that is rich in sensuous detail and political insight, and brilliantly captures the tyranny of history and memory, and questions one’s role and responsibility in lawless times.

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.

We follow Vic from a changing Africa in the fifties, to the sixties -- a time of immense promise. But when that hope is betrayed by the corruption and fear of the seventies and eighties, Vic finds himself drawn into the Kenyatta government’s orbit of graft and power-brokering. Njoroge, on the other hand, can abandon neither the idealism of his youth nor his love for Deepa, coerced into marrying within her Indian community. But neither the cynicism of the one nor the idealism of the other can avert the tragedies that await.

Acute and bittersweet, The In-between World of Vikram Lall is told in the voice of the exiled Vic as he contemplates from the shores of Lake Ontario the tides that have brought him so far from home and the possibility that even as history was shaping him, he has had a hand in altering its course.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: East Indians Kenya Fiction, Brothers and sisters Fiction, Friendship Fiction