Amriika is a novel of betrayal, disillusionment, and discovery set in America during three highly charged decades in the nation’s history. In the late sixties, Ramji, a student from Dar es Salaam, East Africa, arrives in an America far different from the one he dreamed about, one caught up in anti-war demonstrations, revolutionary lifestyles, and spiritual quests. As Ramji finds himself pulled by the tumultuous currents of those troubled times, he is swept up in events whose consequences will haunt him for years to come. Decades later in a changed America, having recently left a marriage and a suburban existence, an older Ramji, passionately in love, finds himself drawn into a set of circumstances which hold terrifying reminders of the past and its unanswered questions.
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“Amriika may be viewed as a classic immigrant story...[which] becomes, among other things, a kind of snapshot of the zeitgeist of the past three decades, a primer on dissident politics, a suspenseful mystery and a love story.”
“A sweeping tale....The cast of characters is complex, the backdrop rich....”
“Combines all of the lyricism of Rushdie with the astute observations of Updike....”
“Compelling and nuanced, rich in period detail and imaginative set-pieces....”
–New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
M. G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming to Canada in 1978, he attended M.I.T., and later was writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa in their prestigious International Writing Program. Vassanji’s fiction to date comprises five novels and a book of short stories: The Gunny Sack (1989), which won a Regional Commonwealth Writers Prize; No New Land (1991); Uhuru Street (short stories, 1992); The Book of Secrets (1994), a national bestseller and the winner of the inaugural Giller Prize; Amriika (1999); and, most recently, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (2003), which won The Giller Prize.
Vassanji was awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize in 1994, in recognition of his achievement in and contribution to the world of letters, and was in that same year chosen as one of twelve Canadians on Maclean’s Honour Roll.
M. G. Vassanji lives in Toronto.
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