By: M. G. Vassanji
It would take many lifetimes, it was said to me during my first visit, to see all of India. The desperation must have shown on my face to absorb and digest all I possibly could. This was not something I had articulated or resolved; and yet I recall an anxiety as I travelled the length and breadth of the country, senses raw to every new experience, that even in the distraction of a blink I might miss something profoundly significant.
I was not born in India, nor were my parents; that might explain much in my expectation of that visit. Yet how many people go to the homeland of their grandparents with such a heartload of expectation and momentousness; such a desire to find themselves in everything they see? Is it only India that clings thus, to those who’ve forsaken it; is this why Indians in a foreign land seem always so desperate to seek each other out? What was India to me?
The inimitable M.G. Vassanji turns his eye to India, the homeland of his ancestors, in this powerfully moving tale of family and country. Part travelogue, part history, A Place Within is M.G. Vassanji’s intelligent and beautifully written journey to explore where he belongs.
Published on 15 September 2009.
Published by: Anchor Canada
Gyuri, a fourteen-year-old Hungarian Jew, gets the day off school to witness his father signing over the family timber business - his final act before being sent to a labour camp. Two months later, Gyuri finds himself assigned to a 'permanent workplace'. This is the start of his journey to Auschwitz.
On his arrival Gyuri finds that he is unable to identify with other Jews, and is rejected by them. An outsider among his own people, his estrangement makes him a preternaturally acute observer, dogmatically insisting on making sense of the barbarity - and beauty - he witnesses.
Published in 2017.
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions.
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.
Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.
Published in 2014.
In 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’. This collection of essays by leading poets and critics – with a new foreword by Will Self – examines Dylan’s poetic genius, as well as his astounding cultural influence over the decades.
‘From Orpheus to Faiz, song and poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition’ Salman Rushdie
‘The most significant Western popular artist in any form or medium of the past sixty years’ Will Self
‘For fifty and some years he has bent, coaxed, teased and persuaded words into lyric and narrative shapes that are at once extraordinary and inevitable’ Andrew Motion
‘His haunting music and lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, literary’ Joyce Carol Oates
‘There is something inevitable about Bob Dylan… A storyteller pulling out all the stops – metaphor, allegory, repetition, precise detail… His virtue is in his style, his attitude, his disposition to the world’ Simon Armitage
Published in 2017.