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The Magic of Saida

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Giller Prize-winner M. G. Vassanji gives us a powerfully emotional novel of love and loss, of an African/Indian man who returns to the town of his birth in search of the girl he once loved--and the sense of self that has always eluded him. Kamal Punja is a physician who has lived in Canada for the past forty years, but whom we first meet in a Tanzanian hospital. He is delirious and says he has been poisoned with hallucinogens. But when Kamal finds a curious and sympathetic ear in a local publisher, his ravings begin to reveal a tale of extraordinary pathos, complexity, and mystery. Raised by his African mother, deserted when he was four by his Indian father, married to a woman of Indian heritage, and the father of two wholly Westernized children, Kamal had reached a stage of both undreamed-of material success and disintegrating personal ties. Then, suddenly, he "stepped off the treadmill, allowed an old regret to awaken," and set off to find the girl he had known as a child, to finally keep his promise to her that he would return. The girl was Saida, granddaughter of a great, beloved Swahili poet. Kamal and Saida were constant companions--he teaching her English and arithmetic, she teaching him Arabic script and Swahili poetry--and in his child's mind, she was his future wife. Until, when he was eleven, his mother sent him to the capital, Dar es Salaam, to live with his father's relatives, to "become an Indian" and thus secure his future. Now Kamal is journeying back to the village he left, into the maze of his long-unresolved mixed-race identity and the nightmarish legacy of his broken promise to Saida. At once dramatic, searching, and intelligent, The Magic of Saida moves deftly between the past and present, painting both an intimate picture of passion and betrayal and a broad canvas of political promise and failure in contemporary Africa. It is a timeless story--and a story very much of our own time.

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 16405c9f-6885-3404-97ec-3222938c40e9
Grouping Title magic of saida
Grouping Author vassanji m g
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2020-05-24 22:43:03PM
Last Indexed 2020-05-24 23:43:09PM

Solr Details

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author M.G. Vassanji
author_display Vassanji, M. G
available_at_catalog Main Kids
Main Library
collection_catalog Fiction
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Fiction
display_description Driven by an old regret from his life as a successful doctor and family man, Kamal Punja journeys to his mother's native Africa to keep a childhood promise and confronts his unresolved mixed racial identity.
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id 16405c9f-6885-3404-97ec-3222938c40e9
isbn 9780307961501
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literary_form Fiction
literary_form_full Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog Fiction Vassanj
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Main Kids
Main Library
primary_isbn 9780307961501
publishDate 2013
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
overdrive:af937c69-def4-4eef-9bc6-4f6fe2ac36c9 eBook eBook English Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2013
ils:CARL0000404926 Book Books First United States Edition. English Alfred A. Knopf, 2013. 303 pages ; 25 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
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ils:CARL0000404926 35192043924418 On Shelf On Shelf false true true false false true
series Vintage Contemporaries
series_with_volume Vintage Contemporaries|
subject_facet Man-woman relationships -- Fiction
Promises -- Fiction
Tanzania -- Fiction
title_display The Magic of Saida
title_full The Magic of Saida
The Magic of Saida / M.G. Vassanji
title_short The Magic of Saida
topic_facet Fiction
Man-woman relationships