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From Giller Prize–winner M. G. Vassanji comes the story of Kamal Punja, son of an African mother and an Indian father, who has been living in Canada for forty years. Despite his material wealth, Kamal finds himself longing for the place of his birth—Africa—and of a girl there he once loved. As a child he was certain that Saida—granddaughter of a great Swahili poet and his constant companion—would become his future wife, but when he was just eleven Kamal’s mother sent him to live with his estranged father’s family in India. Now, decades later, Kamal journeys back to the village he left—to confront his long-unresolved racial identity and the nightmarish legacy of a broken promise.
“A bravura performance. . . . One wants to immediately read [The Magic of Saida] again . . . to savour it just that little bit longer.” —The Globe and Mail
“Remarkable. . . . It’s impossible not to feel enormous sympathy for [Kamal,] a man who overcomes so many hurdles except that of his own humanity. For creating this character, M. G. Vassanji must be thanked.” —Vancouver Sun
“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
“Mysterious and haunting. . . . The seductive power of Vassanji’s prose mesmerizes. . . . Conrad would approve.” —Quill & Quire