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The In-Between World of Vikram Lall

M.G. Vassanji won his second Giller Prize for this novel about five turbulent decades in Kenya.

M.G. Vassanji

A story about survival, coming to terms with the past, and personal identity, this novel revolves around Vikram Lall, a person of Indian heritage who grew up in Kenya during the 1950s. As Lall moves through four decades of his life, he must navigate a repressive colonial world where inhumanity and corruption are commonplace.

The In-Between World of Vikram Lall won the Giller Prize in 2003, making M.G. Vassanji the first two-time Giller Prize winner. 

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From the book

My name is Vikram Lall. I have the distinction of having been numbered one of Africa's most corrupt men, a cheat of monstrous and reptilian cunning. To me has been attributed the emptying of a large part of my troubled country's treasury in recent years. I head my country's List of Shame. These and other descriptions actually flatter my intelligence, if not my moral sensibility. But I do not intend here to defend myself or even seek redemption through confession; I simply crave to tell my story. In this clement retreat to which I have withdrawn myself, away from the torrid current temper of my country, I find myself with all the time and seclusion I may ever need for my purpose. I have even come upon a small revelation — and as I proceed daily to recall and reflect, and lay out on the page, it is with an increasing conviction of its truth, that if more of us told our stories to each other, where I come from, we would be a far happier and less nervous people.

I am quite an ordinary man, as you will discover, and moderate almost to a fault. How I came upon my career and my distinction is a surprise even to me. But my times were exceptional and they would leave no one unscathed.

From The In-Between World of Vikram Lall by M. G. Vassanji ©2004. Published by Anchor Canada.

Author interviews