The Book of Secrets (2020)

The Book of Secrets M.G. Vassanji The Book of Secrets In a retired schoolteacher named Pius Fernandes receives an old diary found in the back room of an East African shop Written in by a British colonial administrator the diary captivates Fer
  • Title: The Book of Secrets
  • Author: M.G. Vassanji
  • ISBN: 9780312150686
  • Page: 213
  • Format: Paperback
The Book of Secrets M.G. Vassanji In 1988, a retired schoolteacher named Pius Fernandes receives an old diary found in the back room of an East African shop Written in 1913 by a British colonial administrator, the diary captivates Fernandes, who begins to research the coded history he encounters in its terse, laconic entries What he uncovers is a story of forbidden liaisons and simmering vengeances, famiIn 1988, a retired schoolteacher named Pius Fernandes receives an old diary found in the back room of an East African shop Written in 1913 by a British colonial administrator, the diary captivates Fernandes, who begins to research the coded history he encounters in its terse, laconic entries What he uncovers is a story of forbidden liaisons and simmering vengeances, family secrets and cultural exiles a story that leads him on an investigative journey through his own past and Africa s.
The Book of Secrets M.G. Vassanji

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    213 M.G. Vassanji
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    Posted by:M.G. Vassanji
    Published :2020-05-12T23:29:28+00:00

One thought on “The Book of Secrets

  1. Carolien

    The book focuses on a part of history that doesn t often get attention in fiction the First World War in East Africa and the Gujarati Indian community in Kenya and Tanzania.The plot is quite intricate and I like the fact that the author still retains some secrets at the end of the book for the reader to ponder.

  2. Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I read this book along with the Great African Reads group, as they focus on a different Kenyan author every month in 2016 I appreciated getting to read this book for several reasons It won the Giller Prize in 1994, and I always want to expand my reading of Canadian authors I had not yet read or learned of how the European conflicts in World War I effected their African colonies This takes place in the Indian and British settlements in East Africa, as well as the German East Africa connected by r [...]

  3. Angela

    First what I liked about the Book of Secrets I ve never read a book set in this part of the world and so that was new to me I know very little of the colonial history of Kenya and East Africa Also, the women in the story, particularly Mariamu, were vivid compared to the male characters.Sadly, I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped I would I found the cast of characters somewhat confusing because of the past present timelines Perhaps my attention span is suffering so I won t blame the a [...]

  4. Karen

    I had such high expectations of this book I wanted to love it but found it to be lazily written Let me explain I loved the prose, he spins a pretty sentence but as the story progressed I couldn t suspend judgment about the coincidences that occurred and pushed the story forward I mean really, what are the odds of the guy investigating the big mystery having been infatuated the girl at the centre of it all The diary was from decades ago, found in a wall of a shop Suddenly Rita is in the picture a [...]

  5. Julie

    I went into this book with high expectations, but I soon found that it didn t exactly meet those expectations, especially compared to the first book I read by the author The book lacked a lot in what I look for in a good read and even compared to a previous book I read by the author, the book didn t work well for me The story didn t connect well for me I found it to dragged a lot and failed to keep me engaged The characters were lacking in their development They felt very stiff to me and there w [...]

  6. Sandeep

    Amazing multi generation fictional story about Ismailis in East Africa, starting from the period before WWI, when they had just converted to Islam and therefore preserved Hindu customs, something which would conflict with successively Arabised future generations.

  7. Jody

    Amazing book But it has such an inconclusive ending, so many unanswered questions, that I really have no idea what I should talk about in my presentation tomorrow

  8. Mike

    This book had some interesting history about East Africa in it I found it kind of confusing and hard to follow at times.

  9. Pamela

    view spoiler And finally, I come to the ENDING Thank goodness It was a disappointment and a style that I do not enjoy I think it made some important points about postcolonialism, but the narration left me cold, and there was way too much telling, and not much showing And I never got to know any of the characters enough to have an opinion about them But I m done And here is the ENDING EPILOGUEThree months have passed since I last saw Rita, almost three months since I handed over to her Alfred Cor [...]

  10. Kamalendu Nath

    Quite a fascinating angle of storytelling with an unique style providing an insight into two Colonial East African countries and its select inhabitants The story centers on settlements around the Mount Kilimanzaro of the British East Africa Kenya and the German East Africa Tanganyika Pius Fernandes, an ex school teacher comes across a personal diary The Book of Secrets of Alfred Corbin, a colonial administrator, with the entries from 1913 that s sketchy and apparently incomplete What follows is [...]

  11. Shirley Schwartz

    This is a book that will stick with me Mr Vassanji is one of my favourite authors This book was the first to win the prestigious Giller Prize and it is the last one in my quest to read all the Giller Prize winners which I undertook about a year ago I really enjoyed this book, both for the history and for the people that Mr Vassanji has created The book is about the changes experienced in an East African nation from a Commonwealth Country, through a war and onto independence Of course there are g [...]

  12. Kiera Healy

    I read and loved The In Between World of Vikram Lall a few years ago, so I tried out this earlier work by Vassanji It was a big let down I stopped and started it a couple of times, because the opening section a POV shifting look at a colonial official s diary circa 1913 was so tedious Even when my Kindle was telling me I only had 15% of the novel left, it was a chore to pick it up.Some elements here are nice Vassanji s descriptive writing is frequently beautiful, and his attention to detail in t [...]

  13. Jim

    A nice, fine novel set mostly in Kenya and Tanganyika largely during the colonial period from the early twentieth century to about 1990 The story is told by an Indian teacher who is given a diary that compels him to uncover the intertwined history of a colonial British administrator, a young and tragically murdered bride and her merchant husband, and their son, who will later marry a woman for whom the teacher had feelings It provides an interesting glimpse into the life of muslim Indians who im [...]

  14. Allie Farrell

    I did not care for this book It s the third time I ve tried to get through it, and was successful at my attempt, but it doesn t feel much like success as it bored me to tears Every time I ve tried reading it, I wonder what I must be missing because the excerpts of the reviews on the cover and on the front pages are uniformly awed by the book, and these quotations are excerpted from some rather fine publications that I usually trust Not this time The novel is a story within a story A retired scho [...]

  15. Donna

    As you can see from my rating, this book just did not capture me at all I was not drawn into the story, I was unable to keep track of the characters, there were too many foreign words that I wasn t interested enough to try to keep track of, and all of these things combined made it and difficult to maintain my focus as the pages crawled by By the time the story got rolling, I was already starting to wish it was over and wondering what I should read next I do have a quote to share though, from t [...]

  16. Charlotte Wiebe

    I recommend starting this book on page 50 You really wouldn t miss much because at page 200 I still had no real solid idea of what was going on This book jumps around and at times I thought maybe a new character was being introduced To be fair maybe I just took too long to read this book and then I would forget what was going on although the book was just to easy to skim read or put down I even lost it once and not on purpose maybe I should have taken that as a sign I really can t put my finger [...]

  17. Nancy

    What a wonderful read Loved this book a lot.This is how I love to learn about history factual events intertwined with fictional or factual lives of people In this case the focus is on the settlement of Kenya and Tanzania by Indian immigrants and the social and political interactions with African citizens and European British and German colonialists I found it really interesting and newly educational for me to learn about the impact of especially WW1 in Europe on the colonies Kenya being British [...]

  18. Jeannette

    I enjoyed this diary like novel that tells of life particularly the Indian community in Kenya and Tanzania from 1912 until 1988 Britisher Alfred Corbin is the ADC in a tiny Kenyan town near the border to Tanganyika, a town of immigrants from India and writes his memoir about his time there Although the Indians were successful traders and survivors of world wars, they didn t mix with the Africans When independence came in the 1960s the community dissolved The fact that Indian communities are so s [...]

  19. Kris - My Novelesque Life

    1 STARS The Book of Secrets is a spellbinding novel of generations and the sweep of history that begins in 1988 in Dar es Salaam, when the 1913 diary of a British colonial officer is found in a shopkeeper s back room The diary enflames the curiosity of a retired schoolteacher, Pius Fernandes, whose obsession with the stories it contains gradually connects the past with the present Inhabiting the story is a memorable cast of characters, part of an Asian community in East Africa, whose lives and f [...]

  20. Nuala

    Finally, after so many failed attempts to engage this book, and carting it around Europe, I ve read AND enjoyed it I read authors like MG Vassanji in order to experience life lived by other people, at other times and in places I will never know I trust the novelist to bring the history alive and make it resonate on a personal level It is worth making the effort to penetrate the opening chapters of this book Characters are deeply drawn and explored from many angles as the book progresses By the e [...]

  21. Daniel Silveyra

    A good indicator of how compelling this book can be is that whenever you switch narrators POV, you get a little angry at the author.The subject matter is very specific a handful of people living in an East African English colony before and after World War II, how their paths meet and come apart.It s a good book That means that there are no easy good vs evil issues It means that the characters we like the most behave pettily at times, and the ones we like the least have streaks of greatness and g [...]

  22. Sharon

    I m not sure how much story was actually in the book I suppose it s a real bit of history in that way nothing is clear, nothing is concluded or wrapped up or given closure, everything is told and re told from different angles That being said, I ve seen this done much beautifully and powerfully in other books such as Beloved, by Toni Morrison This book often read dryly, without engagement with the main characters, and the story was often repeated without adding any depth of truth to it That bei [...]

  23. Angie

    This book won the Giller Prize in 1994 and I believe I have had it on my shelf almost as long It was certainly past time for me to read this story It takes place in Kenya, in a town near the border with Tanzania, from 1913 to 1988 A retired Indian teacher, Pius Fernandes, is given a book, actually a diary written by Sir Alfred Corbin, a British colonial administrator He becomes obsessed with his story and how it is linked to himself in the present day I learned a lot about the history of colonia [...]

  24. Melissa Williams

    Disappointing The center of the story focused around Corbin s lost diary from his years in East Africa I read the book wondering who and how the secret would be revealed How disappointing to find out we will never know The book had too many characters whose lives were intertwined in far too much of a coincidental fashion Just when I thought one of the characters might reveal the truth, suddenly the author switched over to yet another character s perspective In the end, the diary was quite boring [...]

  25. Catherine

    Yay, I finished the first book in my personal challenge to read through the gillers I can see why this book would have won the prize, but it is not one of my favorites I wasn t really drawn in until about half way through and then it was of a feeling that now that i m this far I should really just finish the writing was fine and some of the characters were fully drawn, but the jumping back and forth left me a little perturbed at times Not only did the author jump back and forth among the charac [...]

  26. Diane

    A retired teacher is given a part of an old diary from 1913, a minor government official that resided for a time in a small village near Dar es Salaam in Tanzania He starts investigating the stories it contains and tries to find out what happened to the people in the diary, tracing their stories over the generations since then The book is well written, and the story is pretty good though I felt it a bit disjointed at times, being told from various points of view and from different periods of tim [...]

  27. Sheena

    The descriptions of the African landscape in this book are breathtaking, especially when the author describes the views of Mt Kilimanjaro I was intrigued by the story of the effects of WWI on the people of Kenya and Tanzania I ve never before read anything about the war in Africa very different perspective.

  28. Mary

    The Book of Secrets was interesting to me as another source of impression about the Kenya Tanganyika area or, perhaps accurately, British East Africa and German East Africa that also come in Karen Blitzen Isak Dinensen s Out of Africa biographical account, and William Boyd s The Ice Cream War, a novel largely set in German East Africa with many of the same real life people featured.

  29. Shannon

    I like family epics and historical fiction, so I liked those aspects of this book, but it was missing a spark to make it something better It took me a long time to read weeks, where normally it would only take a few days at most I liked the story but did not feel compelled to return to it like with others I would compare it with.

  30. Jeanoc

    I reread this book in August 2007 It is not an easy book, but I enjoyed the depiction of colonial East Africa It is a kind of history of East Africa told through the lives of the characters whose lives intersect at different times There is also a sort of mystery that gives impetus to the narrative.

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