The Limits of the World: A Novel by Jennifer Acker (Goodreads Author)
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The Chandaria family—emigrants from the Indian-enclave of Nairobi—have managed to flourish in America. Premchand, the father, is a doctor who has worked doggedly to grow his practice and give his family security; his wife, Urmila, runs a business importing artisanal Kenyan crafts; and their son, Sunil, after quitting the pre- med track, has gotten accepted to a PhD program in philosophy at Harvard. But the parents have kept a very important secret from Sunil: his cousin, Bimal, is actually his older brother. And when this previously hidden history is revealed by an unforeseen accident, and the entire family is forced to return to Nairobi, Sunil reveals his own well-kept, explosive secret: his Jewish-American girlfriend, who has accompanied him to Kenya, is, in fact, already his wife. Spanning four generations and three continents, The Limits of the World illuminates the vast mosaic of cultural divisions and ethical considerations that shape the ways in which we judge one
another’s actions. A dazzling debut novel—written with rare empathy and insight—it is a powerful depiction of how we prevent ourselves, unwittingly and otherwise, from understanding the people we are closest to.
In the 1960's and 1970's, an exodus of Asians took place from East Africa. While they wished the newly independent countries - Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania- success and prosperity, many Asians felt that the future for them and their children was likely to be fraught with problems if they stayed put in Kenya. Besides the policy of "Africanisation", many Asians questioned whether there was a future for their children.
The expulsion of Asians from Uganda by the monster Idi Amin was perhaps the biggest single factor that made Asians feel that it was time to find a more permanent home and future for their families. The vast majority opted for Great Britain because their British passports entitled them to settle in Britain. Those who did not qualify to enter Britain (and some who did) applied in thousands to emigrate to the U.S.A., Canada, Australia and a handful of other countries.
I don't have the exact figures but I would estimate that between 1960 and 1975, well over a million displaced Asians put down roots in countries all over the globe. Each of our stories is different; my family owes its presence in Southern Alberta to a farming couple from Cardston, now deceased but forever remembered with gratitude and love.