The Magic Of Saida by M.g. VassanjiThe Magic Of Saida by M.g. Vassanji

The Magic Of Saida

byM.g. Vassanji

Hardcover | September 25, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 165 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Available in stores


The Magic of Saida tells the haunting story of Kamal, a successful Canadian doctor who, in middle age and after decades in North America, decides to return to his homeland of East Africa to find his childhood sweetheart, Saida. Kamal's journey is motivated by a combination of guilt, hope, and the desire to unravel the mysteries of his childhood--mysteries compounded by the fact that Kamal is the son of an absent Indian father from a well-to-do family and a Swahili African mother of slave ancestry. Through a series of flashbacks, we watch Kamal's early years in the ancient coastal town of Kilwa, where he grows up in a world of poverty but also of poetry, sustained by his friendship with the magical Saida. 

This world abruptly ends when Kamal is sent away by his mother to live with his father's family in the city. There, the academically gifted boy grows up as a "dark Indian," eventually going to university and departing for Canada. Left behind to her traditional fate is Saida, now a beautiful young woman. Decades later, Kamal's guilt pulls him back to Kilwa . . . where we discovers what happened to Saida during a harrowing night of sinister rites. This complex, revelatory, sweeping and shocking book, is a towering testament to the magical literary powers of M.G. Vassanji.
M.G. VASSANJI is the author of six novels, two collections of short stories, and two works of nonfiction. His first novel, The Gunny Sack, was winner of the Commonwealth Prize for Canada and the Caribbean. He has won the Giller Prize for both The Book of Secrets and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, and the Governor General's Litera...
Title:The Magic Of SaidaFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:320 pages, 9.5 × 6.6 × 1.1 inShipping dimensions:9.5 × 6.6 × 1.1 inPublished:September 25, 2012Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385667140

ISBN - 13:9780385667142


Rated 4 out of 5 by from At first, as the story weaves in and out through the lives and history of the characters and town involved, I feel it took me a while to make my way through. However, as I came the end, I just couldn't close the book to put it down and I found myself immediately returning to the beginning of the book to re-read those early parts, to recapture the significance and the feeling of what I had just enjoyed.
Date published: 2014-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Vassanji (Canadian) writes beautiful descriptions and develops his characters fully. Kamal, a successful Canadian doctor who, in middle age and after decades in North America, decides to return to his homeland of East Africa to find his childhood sweetheart, Saida. The story includes flashbacks of Kamal growing up and the results of the decision his parents made to move him to the “city”.
Date published: 2012-09-09

Editorial Reviews - Best 100 Books of 2012“The Magic of Saida is the sort of novel that, upon finishing, one wants to immediately read again, to examine, to study just how Vassanji works his narrative magic, and to allow oneself to savour it just that little bit longer. It’s simply baffling to me that such a book – that this book – appears on none of the major short lists this fall. It’s more than an oversight; it’s a crying shame.” —The Globe & Mail“A gripping narrative . . . . [Vassanji’s] material is so compelling that he needs little more than to adopt the role of a chronicler . . . . A humble village, in the imagination of this chronicler, becomes a vortex of varying belief systems and ways of life.” —National Post“M.G. Vassanji’s new novel offers an experience as mysterious and haunting as hearing the sudden beat of drums in the middle of the night. . . . The seductive power of Vassanji’s prose mesmerizes. . . . One of Canada’s best novelists . . . . Vassanji’s new novel is darker and far more complex than any of his previous books.” —Quill & Quire