In 1972, dictator Idi Amin expelled 80,000 South Asians from Uganda. Though many had lived in East Africa for generations, they were forced to flee in 90 days as their country descended into a surreal vortex of chaos and murder.
Spanning the years between 1921 and 1975, Where the Air Is Sweet tells the story of Raju, a young Indian man drawn to Africa by the human impulse to seek a better life, and three generations of his family who carve a life for themselves in a racially stratified colonial and post-colonial society. Where the Air Is Sweet is a story of family, their loves, their griefs, and finally their sudden expulsion at the hands of one of the world’s most terrifying tyrants.
Praise for Tasneem Jamal's Where the Air is Sweet:
"Enthralling, moving and beautifully written, Tasneem Jamal's remarkable debut reveals the joys, heartaches, and fragilities of human connection, the relationships people forge with a land, the promises they make to each other. With her graceful, confident prose, Jamal creates a world so real it pulsates with vitality and tenderness. Her characters straddle the permeable, ever-shifting line between homes, between overlapping identities, between longing and belonging, desire and hope." —Ayelet Tsabari, author of The Best Place on Earth
"Jamal's debut novel about family and love hints at another darker theme—the unbreakable and destructive force of power . . . [the] narrative explores the 1972 expulsion of 80,000 Asians from Uganda . . . in a journalistic style that forms a powerful backdrop for the story." —Publisher's Weekly
"Big of heart and mind, Tasneem Jamal's powerful debut novel exposes the fragility of belonging and, with its sweeping hisotrical eye, brings home the true meaning of Canada."
—Carrie Snyder, author of the Governor General's Award finalist The Juliet Stories
"Tasneem Jamal's tale of the travels and travails of a multigenerational Asian family, from India to Uganda, to the UK, to Kitchener, Ontario, contains a powerful truth—at the end of the day it is family that allows individuals to endure and recover fromt he refugee experience."
—Michael Molloy, President, Canadian Immigration Historical Society, and Former Canadian Ambassador to Jordan
Length: 294 pp
Period: 20th century
English (Canada) rights, HarperCollins Canada
Italian rights, Nuova Editrice Berti
For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.
Born in Mbarara, Uganda, in 1969, Tasneem Jamal immigrated to Canada with her family in 1975. She has worked as a journalist for over a decade as an editor at The Globe and Mail, Saturday Night Magazine and the National Post. She has written fiction and non-fiction for the Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad, The Globe and Mail, Saturday Night Magazine, the National Post and the Literary Review of Canada. She lives in Kitchener with her husband and two daughters