The In-between World of Vikram Lall

The In-between World of Vikram Lall

Book - 2005
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Vikram Lall comes of age in 1950s Kenya, at the same time that the colony is struggling towards independence. Against the unsettling backdrop of Mau Mau violence, Vic and his sister Deepa, the grandchildren of an Indian railroad worker, search for their place in a world sharply divided between Kenyans and the British. We follow Vic from a changing Africa in the fifties, to the hope of the sixties, and through the corruption and fear of the seventies and eighties. Hauntingly told in the voice of the now exiled Vic, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall is an acute and bittersweet novel of identity and family, of lost love and abiding friendship, and of the insidious legacy of the British Empire.
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, 2005, c2003
Edition: 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed
ISBN: 9781400076567
Characteristics: 369 p. ; 25 cm


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Mar 26, 2017

So much terror and love and loyalties and human failings to explore in this book. And what a sense of safety to do it in the hands of an exceptional storyteller and word artist such as Vassanji. It was a bonus, as well, to learn about the political history of Kenya in the 1950s – 80s through the richly imagined characters who embodied all aspects of those 3-way racially charged times. As for my 4 stars instead of 5 … I simply could not buy into that last page. So much to ponder en route to that final page, though.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 17, 2013

“What makes a man leave the land of his birth?” asks Vikram Lall, a third generation Indian raised in Kenya. The story progresses from his childhood days, through the turbulent Mau Mau rebellion, his career in the Kenyatta government, his role in the corruption of the Finance Department and his remorseful refuge in Canada. Vassanji, winner of a second Giller Prize for this book, explores the “in-between” role of Indians in post-colonial Africa.

Aug 02, 2012

This is another excellent book by Vassanji. It is set in 1953 Kenya and tells the story of a brother and sister and their friendship with an African boy. It takes place at the time of the Mau Mau and Kenyan independence and the following period of promises betrayed. Vikram Lall becomes involved in government corruption and the book addresses cynicism and idealism. It also paints a picture of the isolation of the Indian community in Africa. This book is a wonderful way to gain an understanding of East Africa.

Jul 27, 2012

Well written, intricate book about an East Indian family living in colonial Kenya. The story manages to be both emotionally distant and completely heart-wrenching. Really good.

Jul 22, 2012

Read 2009

mellamama Aug 08, 2009

Best. Book. Ever.

Aug 15, 2008

Loved this book. Liked the characters, storyline, narrative. Good read.

May 02, 2007

Historically interesting, great characters and very well written. Brings together generations, cultures and ideologies and a most entertaining way. Really brings to life the role of the East Indian community within colonial Africa and during the messy transition to independence.


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