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Biography & Autobiography Asian & Asian American

And Home Was Kariakoo

A Memoir of East Africa

by (author) M.G. Vassanji

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Jan 2016
Asian & Asian American, India & South Asia, India
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2016
    List Price

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From M.G. Vassanji, two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner and a Governor General's Literary Award winner for Non-fiction, comes a poignant love letter to his birthplace and homeland, East Africa—a powerful and surprising portrait that only an insider could write.

Part travelogue, part memoir, and part history-rarely-told, here is a powerful and timely portrait of a constantly evolving land. From a description of Zanzibar and its evolution to a visit to a slave-market town at Lake Tanganyika; from an encounter with a witchdoctor in an old coastal village to memories of his own childhood in the streets of Dar es Salaam and the suburbs of Nairobi, Vassanji combines brilliant prose, thoughtful and candid observation, and a lifetime of revisiting and reassessing the continent that molded him—and, as we discover when we follow the journeys that became this book, shapes him still.

About the author

M.G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. He attended university in the United States, where he trained as a nuclear physicist, before coming to Canada in 1978. Vassanji is the author of six novels and two collections of short stories. His work has appeared in various countries and several languages, and he has twice won the Giller Prize. His most recent novel, The Assassin’s Song, was shortlisted for both the Giller Prize and the Governor-General’s Award. He is a member of the Order of Canada and lives in Toronto.

M.G. Vassanji's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Vassanji chronicles his travels . . . searching for a sense of home and historical belonging. . . . Fascinating.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“And Home Was Kariakoo is a memoir in the widest sense. There is no straightforward narrative or awakening; instead, the book is composed of memories—Vassanji’s scattered travels through East Africa—and tied together with sharp historical perspective. How do the different parts of a person coalesce to create an identity? What does ‘home’ mean and what are our responsibilities to it? . . . Throughout And Home Was Kariakoo, Vassanji succeeds in understanding the tension of a bifurcated life and exposing the weight of belonging carried by immigrants like him. After six novels and a long, successful career, Vassanji’s search from how he went to Nairobi to Toronto has come to a meaningful reckoning.”
The Globe and Mail

“Part memoir, part road trip, part pilgrimage, And Home Was Kariakoo takes the reader on a compelling journey of discovery. Moyez Vassanji is a guide whose sense of belonging animates every paragraph. He’s the ideal companion on interminable bus trips, evoking the tedium and the humour. He shares with us delectable kebabs and chapatis in tiny, hidden shops and revealing conversations over fragrant cups of tea.”
“Compelling. . . . And Home Was Kariakoo offers an insider’s experience of East Africa, empathetic and informed. . . . Vassanji contemplates in clean, unfussy prose. He probes connections between past and present—and isn’t sentimental about either.”

“Weaving together childhood memories, personal experience and little-known history from regions as diverse as Zanzibar to Lake Tanganyika to the suburbs of Nairobi, Vassanji paints a picture of this misunderstood part of the world that's fresh, vibrant and close to the bone.”
CBC Books

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