Angela's Reviews > The Book of Secrets

The Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji
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's review
Jul 10, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: reviewed

** spoiler alert ** 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 author--the writing was good--but I had a hard time getting through the novel at all.

Mariamu was the most interesting character to me and I was able to pay attention when the author described her and her relationships to her husband and to her son. When she died, I almost didn't want to finish the book. Her presence remains strong throughout the remaining pages and that was well done. But there were long sections devoted to the war (WWI) as it pertained to colonial Africa and to military intelligence etc. and that was not interesting to me.

The ending tied the various threads together in a way that was satisfying but the mysteries were not ultimately "solved," which is, I believe, the main theme of the novel: the unknowability of history.
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Reading Progress

July 10, 2012 – Shelved
June 10, 2015 – Started Reading
June 22, 2015 –
page 120
June 23, 2015 –
page 145
June 23, 2015 –
page 145
June 24, 2015 –
page 221
June 29, 2015 –
page 293
June 30, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed
June 30, 2015 – Finished Reading

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