Sweeping in scope, both historically and geographically, Vassanji weaves a rich tapestry of vivid characters (real and imagined) in a Kenya poised between colonialism and independence. Vikram Lall, like his adopted country, inhabits an 'in-between world': between the pull of his ancestral home in India and the Kenya he loves passionately; between his tragic past in Africa and an unclear future in Canada; between escape from political terror and a seemingly inevitable return home . . . a return that may cost him dearly. A master storyteller, Vassanji intertwines the political and the personal - the rise of the Mau Mau in the last days of colonialism looms large over a plot centring on two love stories and a deep friendship.
The result is a sumptuous novel that brilliantly explores the tyranny of history and memory, and questions the individual's role and responsibility in lawless times.