The In-between World Of Vikram Lall

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The In-between World Of Vikram Lall

by M. G. Vassanji

Alfred A. Knopf | September 30, 2004 | Hardcover

The In-between World Of Vikram Lall is rated 3.375 out of 5 by 8.
M. G. Vassanji, author of 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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.52 × 6.56 × 1.23 in

Published: September 30, 2004

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 140004216X

ISBN - 13: 9781400042166

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from bland started off real good had me hooked but then it sort of started losing its flavour and turned out bland.
Date published: 2012-07-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Something was lacking... And I can't put my finger on what, exactly. I liked this book, and thought the characters were engrossing, realistic and empathetic. I liked its unique place in history and its unique perspective of "in-between" in so many ways. But still... something was missing. Maybe the lack is mine, as others have loved it, and it did win the Giller.
Date published: 2009-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Vassanji at his best! For me, the first forty to fifty pages were an initiation of sorts - into the language, culture, and life of Vikram Lall. Telling his story from the shores of Lake Ontario, Vikram reveals his "in-betweenness," in his family, love, and business life. The ending leaves you waiting for an answer, anxious to here a broadcaster say, "And we'll be right back after this commerical message." Vikram, the businessman, is listed as the number one corrupt man in Kenya, yet, Vikram says, in not these exact words, that his crimes were of circumstance, finding himself in a situation and just going along for the ride. The novel was much more than I expected with its violence and tragedy, humour and passion. You'll learn a little bit about Indian culture and a great deal about life. It's worth the effort; a great read.
Date published: 2008-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful A book that introduced me to an amazing history that I previously knew nothing of. This book is beautifully written ... the characters are well developed and the story is interesting and intriguing.
Date published: 2007-02-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Good enuff.. this story was good enuff. i just liked the beginning it had to it but by the ending i felt like i shouldn't have chosen this book to read! :-/. Well overall its a book that isn't all that great from my point of view...
Date published: 2005-11-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from dull Well written, excellent character development. Dull, though. It started out well enough, but nothing of any great interest develops. It was a chore to finish.
Date published: 2005-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from RJI We are in Kenya in the world of the Asian immigrants, East Indians, brought to this part of Africa to build the railways. This is a truly wonderful story, and a novel that provided for me some education into a history that I was not aware of. But it is not a didactic, heavily educational novel, the history is woven into a plot that truly keeps one reading. I read these 400 pages in a day and a half so engrossing it was. The novel is the life story of one person, Vikram Lall who lives in a small Kenyan town with his sister Deepa and his parents who own and run a small shop. The story is full of characters that Vikram meets, both relatives of his and friends he makes. It is multi-cultural in sense in that his friends are sometimes whites and more often Africans. His life is not one in which he has pre-determined career paths, but by chance and by accident he becomes involved in the politics of Kenya, going so far as being able to have direct contact with the president Jomo Kenyata. The story is a woven web of these characters and how they affect Vikram and how he reacts to them and always with the background of the insurgency forces of the Mau Mau, the corruption of the governments (both African and European). It is also a story about when a cultural group, transplanted to another country, can become integrated members of that adopted country. We normally understand racism as between whites and blacks in our North American or European context. Here, in this novel we have racism between Blacks and Browns in Africa. READ THIS - IT IS REALLY WORTHWHILE.
Date published: 2005-09-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from In between is accurate When I picked up this novel I had high expectations for it after reading the jacket. After reading it I still felt that it left something to be desired. The relationships were well built and the book flowed smoothly but it didn't seem to progress as it should have. I would recommend it for others because it was original and a good read but I felt it had potential to be more. Judge for yourself.
Date published: 2004-02-13

– More About This Product –

The In-between World Of Vikram Lall

by M. G. Vassanji

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 384 pages, 9.52 × 6.56 × 1.23 in

Published: September 30, 2004

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 140004216X

ISBN - 13: 9781400042166

Read from the Book

My name is Vikram Lall. I have the distinction of having been numbered one of Africa’s most corrupt men, a cheat of monstrous and reptilian cunning. To me has been attributed the emptying of a large part of my troubled country’s treasury in recent years. I head my country’s List of Shame. These and other descriptions actually flatter my intelligence, if not my moral sensibility. But I do not intend here to defend myself or even seek redemption through confession; I simply crave to tell my story. In this clement retreat to which I have withdrawn myself, away from the torrid current temper of my country, I find myself with all the time and seclusion I may ever need for my purpose. I have even come upon a small revelation -- and as I proceed daily to recall and reflect, and lay out on the page, it is with an increasing conviction of its truth, that if more of us told our stories to each other, where I come from, we would be a far happier and less nervous people. I am quite an ordinary man, as you will discover, and moderate almost to a fault. How I came upon my career and my distinction is a surprise even to me. But my times were exceptional and they would leave no one unscathed. Part 1 -- The Year of Our Loves and Friendships One Njoroge who was also called William loved my sister Deepa; I was infatuated with another whose name I cannot utter yet, whose brother was another William; we called him Bill. We had all become playmates recently. It was 1953, the coro
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From the Publisher

M. G. Vassanji, author of 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.

About the Author

M. G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before moving to Canada in 1978, he attended M.I.T. and the University of Pennsylvania, and later was writer in residence at the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. Vassanji is the author of four acclaimed novels: The Gunny Sack, which won a regional Commonwealth Prize; No New Land; The Book of Secrets, which won the very first Giller Prize; and Amriika. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons.

Editorial Reviews

“Tautly written . . . The book admirably captures the tenor of the postcolonial period: the predicament of the Asian minority, the corruption that marred Kenya’s fledgling independence, and the individual tragedies that were the cost of the revolution.” – The New Yorker “Vassanji has a clear sense of how cruelly individuals get battered when the taking of sides is required. In an ever-more-polarized world, his insights about the “in-between” condition become more compelling by the moment.” – Seattle Times “Brilliantly written and deeply felt, it is a resonant family novel that is also a brutally honest portrayal of the last half century of tumultuous Kenyan history . . . Vassanji displays his great gifts; this beautiful novel, which unfolds with intimacy and an inexorable sense of destiny, is proof that fictional truth can illuminate an epoch in history like nothing else.” – Boston Globe “A political panorama understood as a landscape of the heart. Love and loss are what endure for Vikram Lall, and Vassanji explores them with all the tact of a true literary power. Gorgeous and heart-rending glimpses of Africa permeate the book . . . the author leaves us, as all fine writers do, with the shred of hope held out by their own wise and forgiving narrative.” – Chicago Tribune “Vassanji, who was the 2003 winner of Canada’s Giller Prize, explores a conflict of epic proportions from t
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