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And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  69 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
From M.G. Vassanji, two-time Giller Prize winner and a GG winner for nonfiction, comes a poignant love letter to his birthplace and homeland, East Africa--a powerful and surprising portrait that only an insider could write.

Part travelogue, part memoir, and part history-rarely-told, here is a powerful and timely portrait of a constantly evolving land. From a description of
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Doubleday Canada
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Mar 08, 2015 Krista rated it liked it
There's a scene in Americanah in which the main character, Ifemelu, is getting her hair braided in a US-set African hairdresser's, and a white woman comes in, looking for "the Bo Derek". As this Kelsey natters on about her love for all things African, she mentions that reading A Bend in the River really opened her eyes to life in modern Africa. Ifemelu snorts and explains that that book, written from the perspective of an Indian born in Africa, couldn't possibly explain the real Africa as it was ...more
Danielle Tremblay
** I received an ARC from GR in exchange for an honest review. **

At the beginning of his book, Mr Vassanji, an author I've not heard of before, wrote how us, outsiders, see Africa. Most of us see it as a land of "war, disease, and hunger, a sick entity deserving pity and sustenance and all help possible." Personally, I also saw it as a wild land, full of dangerous animals ranging from lions to poisonous snakes.
"What makes this primitiveness, this forbidding solitude of the jungle so wrenchingly
In all my reading of Africa, I have read very little (if any?) by or about Asian people. This certainly helped start the filling of that void. It's an interesting book--part memoir/reflection, part travelogue and part history. Although I enjoyed learning the bits about German colonialism, since we usually hear about the British, the book's greatest value for me definitely was its ability to help me appreciate the Asian experience in East Africa, especially the nuances--different communities ...more
Dec 19, 2014 Meghan rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, 2014
A version of this review first appeared on my blog.

Another publisher-says-no-quotes-from-the-book-please review.

I remember when I learned that there had been Indian immigration to East Africa. I can remember it precisely because I had gone to a book fair with my mother, held at the Nepean Sportsplex on the Saturday of (Canadian) Thanksgiving in 2000. I was working at Royal & SunAlliance Insurance Company of Canada in Toronto and had taken the Greyhound home for the weekend. So we went to thi
Jennifer D.
Jan 04, 2016 Jennifer D. rated it really liked it
"Vassanji has always been fascinated by what he calls “in-between” lives. “It’s not just what I write,” he says, “it’s what I am.” It’s the modern condition—“you could be from Newfoundland and now live in Toronto,” as Vassanji does. But Africa is a special case, he adds, partly because the in-between-ness of Asian Africans like him stretches over three continents, and partly “because I feel very strongly the world doesn’t hear enough from Africans. We talk about horrible conditions there and we
Nov 04, 2014 Bruce rated it liked it
I had enjoyed this book and learned many new things about they area, however may have been better if I had traveled there. On the list of places to go!
Oct 18, 2016 Sheila rated it liked it
3.5 stars. A gentle memoire about life in East Africa - Tanzania and Kenya.
I received this book as a Goodreads First Read. It started a little slow for me, as it had lots of long sections of historical information, but as the book progressed, a beautiful picture began to emerge of a part of the world seldom seen in the light in which this author presents it.

Vassanji weaves detailed history with personal experiences, memories, and musings about his homeland. As an Asian native to East Africa, he has a unique perspective, and the story he tells is a story that needs to
Feb 16, 2015 Terri rated it liked it
I received an Advance copy of this book from Goodreads.

Travel journals are not usually my first choice of reading material. I chose “And Home was Kariakoo” by M.G. Vassanji because I wanted to get behind the usual headlines and sound bites about Africa and see it from a home grown perspective. Because M.G. is an African of East Indian descent now living in Canada, he gives it an interesting perspective.

The book has some interesting glimpses of life in Africa for a minority group. The author’s in
Mary Cahill
Sep 12, 2016 Mary Cahill rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but some of the back roads tours were a tough slog. More maps would have helped as I wasn't familiar with Tanzania.
Oct 16, 2015 Sue rated it really liked it
This book was a Goodreads win. I was very excited to win this book and wasn’t disappointed. It was interesting reading about Asian Africans, a group that I haven’t ever heard much about. And Home Was Kariakoo is a little of everything—a memoir of Vassanji’s life as a child in Tanzania, a travelogue of his journey to find out what the Asian African culture is like now (also in Tanzania), and some distant history—relating the journeys of Livingstone, Stanley and Richard Burton as they traveled ...more
Carol Harrison
Apr 01, 2015 Carol Harrison rated it really liked it
M.G. Vassanji takes the reader along on a return to his homeland, Tanzania, providing his unique (from an Anglo-Canadian point of view) perspective as a world-renowned writer, and a person of South Asian ancestry, born and raised in East Africa, and educated in the US, now living in Canada. I found the book, though at times a tiny bit rambling, fascinating and full of information and insights about people and places that he re-visits. As a Canadian, my education about Africa was limited to the ...more
Catherine Stickann
It is writers like M.G. Vassanji that help the people of the world to begin to understand each other. I won this book on Goodreads First Reads Give a-ways. I think Goodreads for their give - a -ways, as they allow me to try new genera. This book has enticed to me to read more African authors.
"And Home was Kariakoo "is about the author returning to the region and town of his past.
Oct 04, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy of this book. This story took me away to places I've never been before...namely Africa. I found the lifestyle, traditions, people, and story of life in Kariakoo fascinating. A very enjoyable book!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read a book by this talented author!
Leigh Soldan
Dec 21, 2015 Leigh Soldan rated it really liked it
I received an advanced copy of this book from Goodreads. As I intend to visit east Africa soon, this book could not have been more timely. An insider's description of the cultural and natural world of Kariakoo. Told with love and realism. Enjoyed it.
Teresa Lavender
Nov 29, 2015 Teresa Lavender rated it really liked it
Won this here on Goodreads. Interesting story about Africa - what it is and was like. Changes, and how the authors life was changed by his homeland. Very well written.
Susan Walker
Nov 18, 2015 Susan Walker rated it really liked it
Fascinating story about the Author's travels around East Africa. This book is part travel diary, part history and part memories of a wonderful place and people.
Sattva rated it did not like it
Mar 04, 2016
Heather Rempel
Heather Rempel rated it did not like it
Jan 02, 2015
Sarah Holz
Sarah Holz rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2016
nfat rated it really liked it
Mar 16, 2015
Jennifer rated it it was ok
Nov 17, 2015
JD rated it really liked it
Aug 13, 2015
Ralph Hammond
Ralph Hammond rated it liked it
Aug 01, 2016
Mehitabel rated it liked it
Jul 22, 2015
Tehmina Khan
Tehmina Khan rated it really liked it
Feb 28, 2016
Duncan rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2015
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez rated it it was amazing
Sep 05, 2015
JRM rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2016
Sankul Mandavia
Long winded.
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Moyez G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming to Canada in 1978, he attended MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in theoretical nuclear physics. From 1978-1980 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Atomic Energy of Canada, and from 1980 to 1989 he was a research associate at the University of Toronto. During this period he developed a keen ...more
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“Destination Kampala! Africa’s postcolonial renaissance.” There would have been few other places in the world where there was such an excitement about new literature, new ideas, and new politics. The inspiration arrived at this conference for a new publishing imprint of literary titles called the African Writers Series, which was soon launched by Heinemann in the U.K., with Achebe as the series editor. The excitement reached as far as my high school in Dar, where literary competitions were held, new drama was produced, and a parade of literary luminaries passed through, including Chinua Achebe.” 4 likes
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