The Assassin's Song: Book summary and reviews of The Assassin's Song by M.G. Vassanji

The Assassin's Song

by M.G. Vassanji

The Assassin's Song
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Aug 2007
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

The Assassin’s Song opens in the 1960s in a village in Western India, the site of the thirteenth-century Sufi shrine of Pirbaag. Karsan Dargawalla is next in line after his father to assume the lordship of the shrine. But Karsan longs to be “just ordinary”–to be a great cricketer and play for his country and, at the urging of a truck driver, to learn more and more about the world. In secret he applies to go to Harvard, and when he is accepted, he can’t resist the opportunity–though this means profound disappointment for his father and heartbreak for his mother. Soon the intellectual excitement and discoveries of his new life compel him to abdicate his succession to the throne. But even as he succeeds in his “ordinary life” – becoming a professor, marrying and having a son, leading a charmed suburban existence in British Columbia – his heritage continues to haunt him. Finally when a personal tragedy strikes in Canada, and Pirbaag is devastated by communal violence, he is drawn back across thirty years of separation and silence to discover what, if anything, is left for him in India.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Frequent shifts in time and perspective (including flashes of the shrine's early history) heighten Vassanji's evocative depiction of India's ongoing postcolonial tumult, mournfully personalized by the fate of the fractured family at the novel's heart." - PW.

"There are no passages of poetic flourishes, and a reader might pause here and there, not to admire the language but to absorb a simple truth, simply stated." - The Washington Post.

"Another fine, though imperfect novel from an intelligent and inventive storyteller." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Starred Review. Richly detailed and socially astute, this is an exceptionally sensitive novel of violent conflicts and private suffering, emotional verity and metaphysical yearning." - Booklist.

The information about The Assassin's Song shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Vassanji has won the Canadian Giller Prize twice with The Book of Secrets and The In-Between World of Vikram Lall. He was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming to Canada in 1978, he attended MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, where he specialized in theoretical nuclear physics. His wife, Nurjehan, was born in Tanzania. They have two sons, Anil, and Kabir. He lives in Toronto, and visits Africa and India often.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: All We Have Left
    All We Have Left
    by Wendy Mills
    September 11, 2001 is a date that few Americans will ever forget. It was on this day that our ...
  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.