Sunday, December 29

Book Review: The Book of Secrets

Title: The Book of Secrets

Author: M. G. Vaasanji

Pages: 337

Summary: The Book of Secrets is a spellbinding novel of generations and the sweep of history which begins in 1988 in Dar es Salaam when the 1913 diary of a British colonial officer is found in a shopkeeper’s back room. The diary enflames the curiosity of a retired schoolteacher, Pius Fernandes, whose obsession with the stories it contains gradually connects the past with the present. Inhabiting the story is a memorable cast of characters, part of an Asian community in East Africa, whose lives and fates we follow over the course of seven decades. Rich in detail and description, M. G. Vassanji’s award-winning novel magnificently conjures setting and the realm of eras past as it explores the state of living in exile from one’s home and from oneself.

My Rating: 4/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I went into this book with high expectations, but I soon found that it didn't exactly meet those expectations, especially compared to the first book I read by the author. The book lacked a lot in what I look for in a good read and even compared to a previous book I read by the author, the book didn't work well for me.

The story didn't connect well for me. I found it to dragged a lot and failed to keep me engaged. The characters were lacking in their development. They felt very stiff to me and there wasn't anything about them to make me want to continue reading about them. I had the same problem with the plot of the book. It felt very scattered, and while the premise sounded interesting enough, the overall execution didn't work for me. 

The book took its time to explore the plot, which I appreciated, but I felt the book was in the same place it was in the beginning of the book as it was in the end. Events, tragedies happened, but the book was lacking in the necessary pull other boos like it have, so it didn't have the emotional effect and connection to the reader it should have. For the most part, the book dragged for me and was a constant effort to get through.

In the end, it wasn't the best book choice for me.

Would I recommend it to read: I don't think I would with this one. I enjoyed one of the author's other books, so perhaps the author, but not this one.

What to read next: I'd try the author's other books and the other Giller Winners

Challenges: 2013 Category Challenge, 7th Annual Canadian Book Challenge, Alphabet Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge

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