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The Magic of Saida    by M. G. Vassanji order for
Magic of Saida
by M. G. Vassanji
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday Canada, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Michael Graves

This is a wonderful book! The story is intriguing and the research into the historic references is outstanding. Much of the book takes place in colonial East Africa now Tanzania and the narrative provides great insight to the life and times.

Kamal, the protagonist is seeking Saida, a girl from his distant past, as he has spent the last thirty-five years as a well off doctor in Edmonton. This almost mystifying pull to Africa provides the basis for the story. So starts a journey both physical and of times past.

The characters are lively and expertly developed with strong relationships to each other and the land. The novel covers titanic issues, from love lost to abandonment, alienation from one's homeland, and the sense of being an outsider.

Vassanji pays homage to the poets of old, the washairi, as great storytellers but with this book he joins their ranks. As expected, from works written by Vassanji, the writing in this novel is masterful; however, the story line is also very interesting and makes the book a pleasure to spend some time with.

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