Publish with us

Follow Penguin

Follow Penguinsters

Follow Penguin Swadesh

Can Fortune Decide Your Fate? Beautiful Lines from ‘Night of Power’

It’s 1998. And Mansoor Visram has lived in Canada for 25 years, ever since dictator Idi Amin expelled South Asians from Uganda. As a refugee with a wife and child, Mansoor has tried his best to recreate the life they once had, but starting over in Canada has been much harder than he expected. He’s worked as a used-car salesman, as a gas-station attendant, and now he runs a small dry cleaner in suburban Calgary. But he’s hatching plans for a father-and-son empire that will bring back the wealth and status the Visrams enjoyed in Uganda. Mansoor’s wife, Layla, has spent the past decade running her own home-cooking business and trying to hold her family together. But Ashif, their son, rarely comes home to visit, and Mansoor’s pride has almost ruined their marriage.

Read on to sense the undercurrents beneath the tremulous world of Mansoor, Ashif, and Layla from Night Of Power:


“Get up, Visram!” he orders himself. “Move!” Instead he falls, curls in the soft snow, and drifts off again.


“Mark my words, son. We were kings in Uganda, and we will be kings yet again in Canada.”


The flight was packed with stateless Asian men, men who now belonged nowhere.


He was exactly where his father had been when he landed on the shores of Zanzibar sixty years ago. A pauper with nothing to his name.   


Layla yearns to see her son’s face, to hold him, the way she used to when he was a child. This is, she is sure, how all mothers separated from their children must feel, a constant sense of loss and longing.


When he saw Layla’s bruised face, he dismissed her injuries, cordoned them off to the far recesses of his mind. He had nothing to do with that.


No, but where are you really from? As if they are border guards and he’s trying to enter the country illegally. It leaves him feeling that he doesn’t belong here.


He doesn’t feel at home anywhere. He feels untethered, even to his own body. As if he might float away at any second.


He plants his hands on the snow and struggles to stand, his veins a map of  frozen rivers.


Finalist for the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Prize, Anar Ali is a Toronto based screenwriter and a master storyteller. In the Night of Power her words help us envision the Visram family’s exhilarating experiences in Uganda and their life changing journey to Canada.

More from the Penguin Digest

error: Content is protected !!