In Conversation: M G Vassanji & Elizabeth Nunez
Thursday March 21, 2013
M. G. Vassanji sat down with author (and CFF board member) Elizabeth Nunez to discuss his latest book, The Magic of Saida and the writing life.
M. G. Vassanji is the author of six previous novels: The Gunny Sack, which won a regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize; No New Land; The Book of Secrets, which won the very first Giller Prize; Amriika; The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, which also received the Giller Prize; and, most recently, The Assassin's Song. He is also the author of two short-story collections, a travel memoir about India, and a biography of Mordecai Richler. He lives in Toronto with his wife and two sons. The Magic of Saida is his new novel.
About The Magic of Saida
From the Giller Prize-winning author comes a powerfully emotional saga of love and loss: the story of an African/Indian man who returns to the Tanzanian town of his birth--in search of the girl he once loved, the past that will not loosen its grip on him, and the sense of self that has always eluded him. A driven and successful doctor, Kamal Punja--born in Tanzania to an African mother and an Indian father, married to an Indian woman, father of two, resident of Canada for nearly four decades--one day "stepped off the treadmill, allowed an old regret to awaken, and suddenly set off to find the girl he had known as a child, keep his promise to her that he would return." This is the story of Kamal's journey back to Africa, to the complications of his long unresolved mixed racial identity, and the nightmarish legacy of his broken promise to the girl, Saida. A stunning novel--dramatic, provocative, searching, and intelligent--it moves deftly between the past and present, painting both an intimate picture of love and betrayal and a broad canvas of political promise and failure in contemporary Africa. A story at once timeless and very much of our own time.
Elizabeth Nunez is the award-winning author of eight novels and is Distinguished Professor at Hunter College. Her critically praised novels include Boundaries (nominated for NAACP Image Award); Anna In-Between (PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award Choice); Prospero's Daughter (New York Times Editors’ Choice and the One Book, One Community selection for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts); Grace; Discretion (short-listed for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award); Bruised Hibiscus (American Book Award); Beyond the Limbo Silence (Independent Publishers Book Award); and When Rocks Dance. She has published several monographs of literary criticism and is co-editor with Jennifer Sparrow of the anthology Stories from Blue Latitudes: Caribbean Women Writers at Home and Abroad. She is on the board at The Center for Fiction.