This essay analyses how M. G. Vassanji's second novel No New Land (1991), which thematises how Tanzanians of Indian origin emigrate to Canada in the nineteen-seventies and seek to build their new life there, explores the effects of diasporic double dislocation. It considers how the novel's thematisation of diasporic double dislocation illuminates the possibilities and limitations of cross-cultural dynamics. For the purpose, it first examines how the characters identify themselves with East Africa and how the drastic changes caused by decolonisation lead to their sense of diasporic dislocation. It then analyses how their new life in Canada makes them feel further alienated and how they seek to cope with this additional sense of dislocation. Next, the essay considers how Vassanji explores another dimension of diasporic dislocation by making some characters seek to re-define their cultural and communal identity. It concludes by examining the ambivalence of the novel's conclusion in light of Vassanji's own oscillation concerning his cultural position as a postcolonial writer. The novel's ending in which communal unity eventually stifles individual freedom, the essay concludes, reflects the writer's increasing belief in the possibilities of cross-cultural transformation.
The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture 12(2), p.81-101