The Assassin's Song
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Once you've plunged into the book and read a couple of chapters, you immediately get that sense of timelessness. M. G. Vassanji intersperses aspects of the "present day" with events in the thirteenth century and events from the narrator's childhood. The historical events take on the quality of a story or a myth, whereas t...more
The book isn't a novel so much as a fictional biography, and the main character has a pretty bizarre life. He's an Indian boy who was raised near a shrine that his family had inherited the duty and privilege of keeping up. His father was said to be an avatar, and he would be some day his successor. So of course t...more
“Though who knows why people pack up and go? It’s only themselves they are running from.”
“Physically I may b...more
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 spirit...more
Set mostly in India, it is a compelling book with wonderful characters. We feel for Karsan, the protaganist as he defies his father, all the time feeling the pull of family, faith and history. We also feel for the father as he tries to keep his son and guide him as his successor.
I have not been to India, but the descriptions of the shrine which was his home in the fictional town of Pirbaag in northern India were so graphic, not o...more
The Assassin's Song weaves the recent past, modern times, and the ancient past together in such a smooth way that it leaves you thinking "Of course, nothing else could possibly make sense".
This book is about a Sufi saint in the 13th Century and his shrine/legacy in the modern era. Its about Hindus, Muslims, and those not Hindu or Muslim. Great themes, fascinating historical context, and well written, I just cannot finish.
I guess I was expecting more from a Giller Prize book.
However, I did really enjoy the setting which was created and the history around Karsan.