The Book of Secrets begins in 1988, when the 1913 diary of a British colonial administrator is found in a shopkeeper's dusty backroom. Retired schoolteacher Pius Fernandes is captured by the diary's coded history. His exploration of the stories and the people in its pages uncovers a multigenerational narrative of forbidden liaisons and family ...
The Book of Secrets begins in 1988, when the 1913 diary of a British colonial administrator is found in a shopkeeper's dusty backroom. Retired schoolteacher Pius Fernandes is captured by the diary's coded history. His exploration of the stories and the people in its pages uncovers a multigenerational narrative of forbidden liaisons and family secrets.
New clean, tight, unmarked (Fine), Winner of the first Giller Prize for Canadian fiction in 1994, The Book of Secrets is an outstanding historical novel set in East Africa. The best of M.G. Vassanji's early novels, it transforms the history of South Asians in Kenya and Tanzania from 1913 to 1988 into an elegantly written and totally absorbing narrative that is part love story, part war story, part mystery, part national history, and part journey of self-discovery. All orders are shipped by k.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-12-11 Winner of Canada's esteemed Giller Prize, this complex novel is at once a story of the British Empire in Africa and a very postmodern meditation on the allures and pitfalls of narrative. It's set in the racial melting pot of East Africa, where African, Arab, Indian, English and German cultures mesh. The plot has two major strands: the present, in which an Indian-born retired history teacher, Pius Fernandes, discovers a diary written by Alfred Corbin, an English consul stationed in British East Africa (now Kenya) in 1913; and the past of the diary entries themselves, whose gaps and omissions Fernandes imaginatively fills with his own narrative. Corbin is posted to Kikono, a small town near Mt. Kilimanjaro, where he falls in love with his housekeeper, Mariamu, a young local woman betrothed to a bumbling shopkeeper. After the marriage, she bears a son, Ali, who has suspiciously light-colored skin and gray eyes. The second part of the novel follows ``dashing'' Ali's adventures as a successful salesman who moves to London with his young wife, Rita, who as a girl was a student of Fernandes'sæand with whom he was in love. In the present day, Rita visits Fernandes in Africa and ultimately convinces him to give up his prying into the lives of ``those who've lived a little more intensely than their neighbors.'' The book is lush with evocations of East African physical, cultural and historical landscapes. But energy is lost as Vassanji indulges in discursive tangents about the nature of history at the expense of sustained dramatic storytelling. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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