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The Assassin's Song by [Vassanji, M.G.]
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4.6 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The tension between India's centuries-old spiritual traditions and contemporary religious militancy drives this memorable, melancholy family saga by two-time Canadian Giller Prize–winner Vassanji (who won for The Book of Secrets and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall). Karsan Dargawalla is destined from boyhood to succeed his father and his father's father as avatar of Pirbaag, a 13th-century Sufi shrine. As the novel unfolds in fits and starts, Karsan rejects his spiritual inheritance and decamps for Harvard in 1970, against his chagrined father's wishes. The three decades of stubborn self-exile that follow represent a sorrowful generational rift between father and son that ends when Karsan returns home after his ascetic father's death, announced at the book's opening. Though Sufism is a Muslim tradition, Karsan's father considered himself neither and both Muslim and Hindu, and we, says Karsan at one point, are respected for that. Yet Karsan finds the shrine destroyed by a mob of Hindu hard-liners, while his younger brother, Mansoor, militantly calls himself a Muslim and may be involved in Islamist terrorist activities. Frequent shifts in time and perspective (including flashes of the shrine's early history) heighten Vassanji's evocative depiction of India's ongoing postcolonial tumult, mournfully personalized by the fate of the fractured family at the novel's heart. (Aug.)
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From The New Yorker

This resplendent novel traces the path of Karsan Dargawalla, who is brought up, as generations of his forefathers have been, to be the "gaadi-varas, the successor and avatar" of a seven-hundred-year-old Sufi shrine in Gujarat, a mausoleum of Muslim origin but for centuries open to all religions. Karsan, rebelling against "the iron bonds of history," leaves for Boston and Canada, though he ultimately returns to India to "research, recall, and write about" his abandoned heritage. Vassanji eloquently details the sufferings of Karsan’s family as the price of his individual freedom, but suggests that this abandonment was necessary, and that tradition, in the face of India’s "ancient animosities," must be engaged with critically and in the context of the wider world.
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Product details

  • File Size: 1001 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 25, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002361KYO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,767,527 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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on July 7, 2008
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on June 5, 2016
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