The Book of Secrets: A Novel

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McClelland & Stewart Limited, 1994 - Fiction - 337 pages
27 Reviews
The Book of Secrets is a spellbinding novel of generations and the sweep of history which begins in 1988 in Dar es Salaam when the 1913 diary of a British colonial officer is found in a shopkeeper’s back room. The diary enflames the curiosity of a retired schoolteacher, Pius Fernandes, whose obsession with the stories it contains gradually connects the past with the present. Inhabiting the story is a memorable cast of characters, part of an Asian community in East Africa, whose lives and fates we follow over the course of seven decades. Rich in detail and description, M. G. Vassanji’s award-winning novel magnificently conjures setting and the realm of eras past as it explores the state of living in exile from one’s home and from oneself.

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Review: The Book of Secrets

User Review  - Kate - Goodreads

A really intriguing way of narrating the story from many different points of view, though it lagged in the middle for me enough to rate it down a star. Read full review

Review: The Book of Secrets

User Review  - Nuala Woodham - Goodreads

Finally, after so many failed attempts to engage this book, and carting it around Europe, I've read AND enjoyed it. I read authors like MG Vassanji in order to experience life lived by other people ... Read full review


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About the author (1994)

M. G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming to Canada in 1978, he attended M.I.T., and later was writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa in their prestigious International Writing Program. Vassanji’s fiction to date comprises five novels and a book of short stories: The Gunny Sack (1989), which won a Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize; No New Land (1991); Uhuru Street (short stories, 1992); The Book of Secrets (1994), a national bestseller and the winner of the inaugural Giller Prize; Amriika (1999); and, most recently, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (2003), which won The Giller Prize.

Vassanji was awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize in 1994, in recognition of his achievement i

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