The In-Between World of Vikram Lall

Written by M.G. Vassanji
Review by Gerald T. Burke

Vic (Vikram) and his sister Deepa are eight years old when the story begins. They are displaced Indians living in Kenya at the time of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, 1953. Kenya is also in turmoil in its struggle for independence. Vic and Deepa have a group of close friends, both African and British. After a gruesome murder, the family moves to Nairobi. The story jumps ahead to the 60s, 70s, and the 80s. Vic is drawn into political and financial corruption, while Njoroge, their African playmate, succeeds in the volatile political scene and falls in love with Deepa.

Most of the story is narrated by Vic from a home in Canada, to which he fled when the corruption scandal began. We see the past through the lens of his memory until the end, when he returns to Nairobi to face the truth.

M. G. Vassanji has written a marvelous story of individuals caught in a rapidly changing, multi-cultural world. It is a story of hope, despair, failure, and love. The historical complexity of the story’s setting is skillfully woven throughout. The well-written novel is an insightful look at the post-colonial world.