inaugural meeting: tuesday september 30, 201

For our inaugural meeting we have chosen a recent work by Kitchener author, Tasneem Jamal. Her first book, Where the Air is Sweet, tells the story of Raju, an Indian man living in Uganda between 1921 and 1975. 

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 ninety days as their country descended into a surreal vortex of chaos and murder.

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 the story of a family: their loves, their griefs and, finally, their sudden expulsion at the hands of one of the world's most terrifying tyrants.

TASNEEM JAMAL was born in Mbarara, Uganda, and 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.

date: tuesday september 30

book: "where the air is sweet" by Tasneem Jamal

where: public kitchen at 295 lancaster street west in kitchener

time: we'll start serving dinner around 6:30. Tasneem will begin her talk around 8

Big of heart and mind, Tasneem Jamal’s powerful debut novel exposes the fragility of belonging and, with its sweeping historical eye, brings home the true meaning of Canada.
— CARRIE SNYDER, author of Governor General’s Award–nominated The Juliet Stories