The Assassin’s Song by M.G. Vassanji [in Christian Science Monitor]
At the heart of M.G. Vassanji’s sixth novel, The Assassin’s Song, is an exercise in perspective. Definitions of right and wrong, truth and deception, the chosen and outcast – especially in matters having to do with religion – all depend on who’s asking and who’s answering.
Intertwining a 700-year-old family epic with a mystical mystery, Vassanji (two-time winner of Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize for The Book of Secrets and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall) crafts an intense and haunting work of fiction.
In 1960s India, young Karsan Dargawalla wants nothing more than “to be simply one among many, an ordinary mortal” – to go to school, play cricket, talk to girls, and make his own choices.
But his family legacy dictates otherwise for he’s destined to inherit the title of Saheb (“Lord”) from his father, who inherited the position from his father and so on for generations. By his very birth, Karsan is anything but ordinary: he is the designated protector and lord of Pirbaag, a small village in India in the troubled state of Gujarat and a historic hot spot of Hindu/Muslim violence. …[click here for more]
Tidbit: Vassanji was a guest at SALTAF 2005 (South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival), a much-anticipated, highly-attended annual fall event sponsored by the Smithsonian APA Program and NetSAP-DC.