"A searing and beautiful novel." --Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal
Featured on CBC's "30 books to read now"
A portrait of a Muslim family--from the heady days in Uganda to hard times in a new country, and the tragic accident that forces them to confront the ghosts of the past
It's 1998. And Mansoor Visram has lived in Canada for 25 years, ever since dictator Idi Amin expelled South Asians from Uganda. As a refugee with a wife and child, Mansoor has tried his best to recreate the life they once had, but starting over in Canada has been much harder than he expected. He's worked as a used car salesman, as a gas station attendant, and now he runs a small dry cleaner in suburban Calgary. But he's hatching plans for a father and son empire that will bring back the wealth and status the Visrams enjoyed in Uganda. The problem is, his son Ashif does not share his dreams, and he's moved across the country to get away from his father. He's a rising star at a multi-national corporation in Toronto, on the cusp of a life-changing promotion, but he can't seem to forget his girlfriend from long ago. Mansoor's wife, Layla, has spent the past decade running her own home cooking business and trying to hold her family together. But Ashif rarely comes home to visit and Mansoor's pride has almost ruined their marriage. As the fissures that began generations ago--and continents away--reappear, Mansoor, Ashif, and Layla drift further and further apart.
On the Night of Power, a night during Ramadan when fates are decided for the next year, a terrible accident occurs. Will the Visrams survive this latest tragedy?
Night of Power is a heart-wrenching story of a family in crisis. Gripping and unforgettable, Anar Ali's debut novel vividly illuminates the injustices of displacement and the nuances of identity--of losing a home and coming home again.
ANAR ALI's short story collection, Baby Khaki's Wings, was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Prize. She is a screenwriter and works in film and television, most recently, for a new medical drama from CTV/NBCUniversal. Ali lives in Toronto.
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Praise for Night of Power:
“Achingly relatable . . . [Night of Power] handily powers through contemporary Ugandan history, scales the Ismaili Muslim community’s place in it, and delivers both into the setting of 1970’s multicultural-policy-era Canada, a version of the country with, for better and worse, a lasting mythology . . . An original trauma story.”
—The Globe and Mail
"An especially important and accomplished story...elegant, complex, but propulsive and strongly cinematic."
—David Chariandy, author of Brother
“Anar Ali’s Night of Power is a searing and beautiful novel. With perfect pitch, the story glides between the perspectives of father, mother, and son. It is an honest and utterly engaging meditation about love and loss, tenderness and violence, adaptability and delusion, dislocation and rebirth.”
—Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal
“Night of Power is a deeply moving story of the complications of love, loss, obligation, and inheritance that can both bind a family and tear it apart. Written with great compassion for all of its characters, Anar Ali offers us a book that is tender and wise.”
—Camilla Gibb, author of several novels, including Sweetness in the Belly
"With Night of Power, Anar Ali tells a truly Canadian story. A story of dreams fulfilled and broken, of expectations set and dashed, and ultimately of understanding what really matters. With her signature style, she paints a deep portrait of complex, unforgettable characters."
—Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary
“I was profoundly moved by Night of Power. Her characters have lingered in my mind long after the last page. Anar Ali is a tremendously gifted storyteller.”
—Donna Morrissey, author of The Fortunate Brother
"Ali’s story of an Ugandan family fleeing Idi Amin’s regime and resettling in Calgary maintains real urgency . . . Family tensions, culture shock and racism collide in this taut tale."
—NOW Magazine, The 14 best books to read in summer 2019