Land for Fatimah cover picture

Guernica Editions, 2018.
On Facebook
Preorder on Amazon Canada,
U.S., U.K., France...

Land for Fatimah

Four strong women: Anjali, an Indo-Canadian single mother who eagerly accepts an African posting with her non-profit organization; Grace, her dedicated but dominating colleague, who opposes her; Fatimah, a farmer ousted from her home and fertile farmland, whom Anjali befriends; and Mary, Anjali’s kindly maid, who must secure the future of her son, Gabriel.

Anjali involves herself in Fatimah’s quest to find new land for her scattered community, and is thrown into a web of intrigue that upturns her safe, orderly world.

Capturing the warmth and vitality of Africa, illuminating everyday heroism, the novel explores expatriate life, the forced displacement of the poor and the complexities of development.


We reach out, stretching our hands towards the sky, and then we fall down, down, Anjali thought. Sometimes we collapse into a nerveless heap and almost disappear. But somehow we don't. With our last shred of determination, we gather up the scattered bits and pieces, patch outselves together and try once again. She felt awed by this commonplace yet remarkable human reality.

Soon, Rose, the regular Class Three teacher, would come back and relieve her from her volunteer duties. A pity that. Grace could have taught for the rest of the day, the rest of the week, the rest of the year. All you needed was a classroom and children, a blackboard and chalk for the teacher and slates and chalk for the students. Textbooks, notebooks, pens and pencils helped, but were not strictly necessary.

On the eve of their departure from Ferun, a slow burning anger claimed Fatimah. All this time, there had only been anguish over the multiple losses -- land, home, family -- lost, broken, scattered. That night, their last in Ferun, lying in the Women's House, wide awake, she made the resolution that she would find a way to bring them all together again.

Mary's disease had disturbed her equanimity, not shattered it. But Gabriel's unresolved future was tearing her apart. What was the secret behind her habitual calm, her quiet contentment? Mary followed two precepts for happiness that come hard to most of us. She lived in the present and gave herself fully to the task at hand. And she remained focussed on other people, the world beyond herself.