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Oyster Bay and Other Short Stories Paperback – 15 Nov 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse (15 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1425964311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1425964313
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.6 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,351,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Jules S. Damji was born in Dar es Salaam in 1957. After completing his secondary education at the Aga Khan and government schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, he left for the United States where he received his graduate and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science. He currently lives in Fremont, California, USA.

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Format: Paperback
The good of this collection, its heart, lies in the rich subject matter, and the author's feel for it; the vanishing world of a long established, determined and enterprising Asian community in Tanzania and other parts of East Africa.

Those who have ever gazed at films on that exotic place, land of the red-clad Maasai, the roaming elephant, the towering giraffe, may also have wondered at the names of its great cities: Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Zanzibar. What was it like to live there in the turbulent era when British rule ended, and the swinging world of The West in the sixties beckoned? What opportunities beckoned, what miseries tormented, what dark secrets were hidden? How did the people live?

Jules Damji, should well know, for he was a young, perceptive citizen there in those times, sliding now into history, and he has striven to capture them in these nine connected stories of how things were a generation and more ago.

The opening stories tell of everyday life, as, beneath the shade of a mango tree, a young boy of the Ismaili community hears the curse of "Mama Noisy," a spoilt and scolding new bride, and later the excitement of the world famous East African Safari grips him. But then he looks more deeply into life, learning the hidden story of The Caretaker, of the past forgotten heroisms that gave the elderly his medals, and of how hideous violence erupted in Zanzibar, and presently was past and forgotten, lost in the darkness of Africa's tropic nights.
Warming to his work, Jules plunges into a fascinating account of scheming opportunists and corrupt officials in post-independence Tanzania.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Rare Gem 17 Jan. 2011
By Hanif - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am originally from Tanzania, East Africa and it was an absolute treat to read Mr. Damji's stories that recreate the lives of Indians in that region from the 60s and 70s. I was able to relate to the stories and especially liked the way in which he was able to bring different perspectives on the issues that confronted that region at that time. Hopefully, I will get to read more of his material in the future. Stories of Indians that migrated to East Africa beginning the 1800s are very rare to find and thanks to Mr. Damji for making the effort to write about those experiences.
Conflict and Change in Africa 2 Nov. 2011
By Graham Worthington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The good of this collection, its heart, lies in the rich subject matter, and the author's feel for it; the vanishing world of a long established, determined and enterprising Asian community in Tanzania and other parts of East Africa.

Those who have ever gazed at films on that exotic place, land of the red-clad Maasai, the roaming elephant, the towering giraffe, may also have wondered at the names of its great cities: Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Zanzibar. What was it like to live there in the turbulent era when British rule ended, and the swinging world of The West in the sixties beckoned? What opportunities beckoned, what miseries tormented, what dark secrets were hidden? How did the people live?

Jules Damji, should well know, for he was a young, perceptive citizen there in those times, sliding now into history, and he has striven to capture them in these nine connected stories of how things were a generation and more ago.

The opening stories tell of everyday life, as, beneath the shade of a mango tree, a young boy of the Ismaili community hears the curse of "Mama noisy," a spoilt and scolding new bride, and later the excitement of the world famous East African Safari grips him. But then he looks more deeply into life, learning the hidden story of The Caretaker, of the past forgotten heroisms that gave the elderly caretaker his medals, and of how hideous violence erupted in Zanzibar, and presently was past and forgotten, lost in the darkness of Africa's tropic nights.
Warming to his work, Jules plunges into a fascinating account of scheming opportunists and corrupt officials in post-independence Tanzania. Indeed, this later chapter, which to me screams "true story," is as unrestrained an account of lurking dishonesty ripening and sexual manipulation as you could wish to find in any steamy tale of lust and scandal. Africa's dangers and horrors continue in the next story, as a naive youth becomes obsessed with the culture of communism and equality, dismaying his business like sister, and finally causing disaster.

The last stories are more philosophic in tone, leaving the physical violence of the world outside the community to probe conflicts within, as an idealistic youth refuses to tread the path set by his worldly father, who desires to fulfill his frustrated dream of life in England through his only son. Here Damji illuminates a conflict that runs in the background throughout the collection, as indeed it ran through the Ismaili community: the sense of a modern, wider world versus pride, tradition and insularity. "My country," mocked dad, "this is not our country. You really believe in your heart that they care about us." Other winds of change blow as Jules introduces Jamil, who prefers visiting glamorous Oyster Bay to attending a religious festival; triggering his mother's rage, for Jamil is her last hope of maintaining a scrap of good-standing within the community. Her final, tragic loss ends this bitter-sweet recollection of a vanished East Africa, a collection well worth the read.
Have read this book several times, but have never ... 28 Aug. 2014
By mohamed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Have read this book several times, but have never owned a copy. I now have it in my collection. Somehow I had to have it. Electronic copy did not suffice.
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