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Shvoong Home>Books>No New Land Review

No New Land

Article Review   by:ana83     Original Author: M.G. Vassanji
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No New Land (1991) is a novel about an Indian family living in Dar,Africa, with their two children, who settle on a decision to immigrate to Canada. They hope to find there new oppotrunities, start a new life and make a decent living. Consequently, they come to Toronto suburb of Don Mill where they make their home. As we may see from the book, the Indian community in Canada is clearly visible and extensive so the newcomers do not find themselves utterly alien, however, most of the things they experiance are new to them. The main male character of the book Nurdin is confronted with a number of embarassing and uncomfortable situations, in whitch he does not necessarily know how to behave. He notices that despite his considerable work experience, it is not an easy task for an alien in Canada to find any good job. The whole family have to face and tackle with many a difficult, complicated problem. However, what they discover, is the fact that the values which used to constitute an integral, substential part in their life in Africa pursue them in Canada as well. These values seem to exert a great influence on their present life, not to mention the fact that they do not match many Canadian circumstances and standards. As the novel progresses, we find out that Nurdin, during his working hours, has been accussed of sexually assaulting a White girl who is a patent of the hospital he works in. Although he is innocent, he questions the purity of his own thoughts and even tries to find the guilt in his behaviour. Ultimately, the girl withdraws her charges and the main character`s innocence wins. However, he becomes dissatisfied with his life and feels as if trapped between the two worlds, the old one which is his former life and the new one which is Canada where he cannot really adjust and finds himself. The beginning chapters of the novel No New Land are set in Dar, Africa, where the reader is presented with the male protagonist of the story named Nurdin and his family life. During the introductory chapters we discover the actual causes for abandoning the life in Africa and heading for the new land. These reasons seem to mainly political as the narrotor says: ``General Idi Amid, who had overthrown an elected government, had a dream. In this dream, Allah told him that the Asians, exploiters who did not want to integrate with the Africans had to go``(25). As there were a considerable number of the Indians making their living in Africa many of them chose different destinations, however, the most common ones were Canada and the United States. As the author comments: ``Canada was open and, for the rich, America too`` (25). When Nurdin`s family finally arrives in Canada they encounter many complex problems connected with adjusting to the new culture and the new lifestyle.
They search for steady jobs and try to turn over a new leaf. However, they have to face many stressful situations. In Canada, in order to land a decent job, one is obliged to have a previous Canadian work experience. Neither Nurdin nor his wife can fullfil this requirement. They become increasingly desperate. Nurdin cannot fully understand such an absurd situation from his personal point of view and contemplates: ``I am a salesman, I was a salesman. Just give me a chance. Why don`t they unerstand we can do the job. `Canadian experience` is the trump they always call, against which you have no answer`` (44). Foreign accent and different or maybe strange pronunciation seem to be another factors determining their failures and numerous difficulties in finding a job or holding down one once given. When Nurdin`s wife works as a receptionist to a Chinese doctor, she is soon fired because she does not use well-pronunced English. The narrator describes the event: ``But then, after a tew months, she has been dismissed. `Your English,` the doctor had said vaguely`` (66). No New Land is a nover which shows the cultural clash between Canadian and Indian culture and tradition. We are presented with a number of every-day situations when Nurdin is confronted with a Canadian culture and lured by many its boons. The Indian tradition does not allow them to eat pork or drink alcohol, however, can one reject the temptation being constantly exposed to people eating hamburgers and drinking beer? As we may conclude, Nurdin as an ordinary and feable human being is tempted to try beer and sausage. However, he still bears in mind an Indian saying `` Eat pig and become a pig`` (128) and he is constantly stricken by deep genuine remorse. He cannot adjust to the new surroundings, not to mention the fact that he actually finds it extremely difficult to accept all the new things he encounters in Canada. His children, on the reverse, seem to rapidly adjust to the new conditions, which makes him aware that being his age he is in possesion of same traites and habits which cannot be changed and which prevent him from the assimilation.
Published: May 21, 2006   
Please Rate this Review : 1 2 3 4 5
  1. Answer   Question  :    Terrible, boring, awful book! View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    This book is awful! View All
  1. Answer   Question  :    what is Nurdin Lalani's greatest frustration? ( 1 Answer ) View All
  1. Answer  :    To find a job and be accepted. He is also frustrated with himself, and questions his thoughts when seeing half naked woman in Toronto. Tuesday, December 13, 2011
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