Katie Mercer's Reviews > The Magic of Saida

The Magic of Saida by M.G. Vassanji
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's review
Sep 17, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction

I received this book as an ARC, sent to me by the publisher as a Goodreads First Reads.

This will be a bit of an odd review (but really, most of mine have been recently). I think what's holding me back is I always want to write a review that lets people know what I felt about the book, and if I think they would enjoy it. I keep coming up empty, because all I can think is that this book was just lovely. In the best possible way, I don't quite know what to make of this book. The book is a soft tale of 20th Century Colonialism, something that's rare in almost all other books related to that topic. It felt real - lives lived and impacted but it wasn't the focus of the book - it was there, it was history and it was life, but it wasn't what the book was about.

The details of what the book is about you can see in other places, but to me the book was about regret, longing and memory. It struck a chord because a recurring feeling the protagonist had was that he didn't know where he belonged, and he never truly felt a part of something. It's about finding your identity through finding the past

The book was brilliantly written but Vassanji is a brilliant writer, one I have loved for a while. His brilliance lies in the subtleties of what he writes, the characters that he builds and where he takes the story - and above all I've always thought Vassanji is a storyteller. In all honesty I enjoyed this book more than I've enjoyed a book in a while. I broke my trashy Urban Fantasy kick to read this, and I'm incredibly glad I did. Absolutely go grab a copy, you won't regret it. It will leave you thinking and dreaming, and a feeling nostalgic for things you may have never known.

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message 1: by Parul (last edited Apr 05, 2013 01:27PM) (new)

Parul Kapur "It's about finding your identity through finding the past." That's a great line from the review, and nails the heart of the book, and the lives of immigrants who do look back, trying to understand.

Katie Mercer Thanks Parul!

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