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The Gunny Sack (African Writers Series)

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0435905446
ISBN-10: 0435905449
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This first novel by a Nairobi-born writer raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania celebrates the spirit of Asian pioneers, Muslims from India who moved to East Africa in the early 1900s. Living under German colonial rule, the family of Dhanji Govindji become permanent residents of Africa while witnessing historical events that result in the birth of African nationalism. Vassanji has created a family memoir, a coming-of-age story that looks at the past with affection and understanding. He shows that the hopes and dreams of Indian immigrants were essentially the same as those of Europeans who passed through Ellis Island: education for their children and a more prosperous future for the next generation.
- Dean Willms, Fort Collins P.L., Col.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“Vassanji is one of the country’s finest storytellers.”
Quill & Quire

“Vassanji captures a wide and authentic perspective that ranks with V. S. Naipaul and Graham Greene.”
The Times (London) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: African Writers Series
  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (Txt) (March 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435905449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435905446
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,865,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M G Vassanji (www.mgvassanji.com) was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before going to Canada in 1978, he attended MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in theoretical nuclear physics. From 1978-1980 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Atomic Energy of Canada, and from 1980 to 1989 he was a research associate at the University of Toronto. During this period he developed a keen interest in medieval Indian literature and history, co-founded and edited a literary magazine (The Toronto South Asian Review, later renamed The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad), and began writing stories and a novel. In 1989, with the publication of his first novel, The Gunny Sack, he was invited to spend a season at the International Writing Program of the University of Iowa. That year ended his active career in nuclear physics. His contributions there he considers modest, in algebraic models and high spin states. The fact that he was never tenured he considers a blessing for it freed him to pursue his literary career. In 1996, Vassanji was made a fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, where he visited again in 2010 as visiting professor.
If pressed, Vassanji considers himself African Asian Canadian; attempts to pigeonhole him along communal or other lines, however, he considers narrow-minded and malicious.

His work has appeared in various countries and several languages. He is winner of the Giller Prize (1994, 2003) for best novel in Canada; the Governor General's Prize (2009) for best work of nonfiction; the Harbourfront Festival Prize; the Commonwealth First Book Prize (Africa, 1990); and the Bressani Prize. The Assassin's Song was also shortlisted for India's Crossword Prize. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
He lives in Toronto, and visits East Africa and India often.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was introduced to Vassanji while I was in my final year at university. He was being explored in Indian authors writing in english.
Vassanji is a fantastic story teller, his prose is smooth and imbued with myth and the intricate patterns of the narrators lineage.
The very title " gunny sack" promised much hertitage as it means a sack used for travelling. The author finds this and it is a metaphor for the discovery of his familial hertitage as he traces his ancestry from India to Africa.
This book is great especially if you are of indian hertitage and have been displaced from your original homeland.
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Format: Paperback
As an indian born in East Africa, I loved this book. The author writes beautifully and provides an accurate and insightful look into the culture of one particular group of Indians who were born and grew up in East Africa during the mid twentieth century.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is nog bad, but it is just boring with too many characters in it.
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