No New Land is a novel which was authored by M.G. Vassanji. It was published in the year 1991 to give an account of the experiences of immigrant minority groups in Toronto. The story revolves around Nurdin Lalani, an Asian who migrated from Tanzania, Africa to Toronto, Canada in pursuit of greener pastures. However, as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that he finds it hard to fulfill his dreams. Despite finding it hard to get a job, he encounters several challenges that make him a very disillusioned man. These demonstrate challenges faced by such minority groups in the racially stratified Toronto especially during the 1970s and 1980s.
In order to deliver the message to the audience, Vassanji uses a lot of characters in this novel. Each of them plays a significant role in enhancing thematic concerns and continuity of the novel. To begin with, I would like to discuss about Nurdin Lalani. As the protagonist of the novel, he is the main focus. His life experiences are used to show how people like him are treated in the society. In deed, Lalani is a responsible and concerned character. His commitments are seen when he strives to look for the best ways through which he can support his family. This is why he opts to migrate from Dar es Salaam to Toronto to look for a well paying job. He believes that getting such an engagement will enable him to provide for his family. Besides, he is a conservative figure who is glued to the past. He does not want to forget about his past ordeals. He always keeps on remembering about the past problems he had faced such as unhappy marriage and false accusations in Toronto.
The other character in this novel is Sushile. As an accomplice to the protagonist, he seeks to support him to come into terms with the problems facing him. I would like to say that he is a caring character because he is concerned about the welfare of his friend, Lalani. After understanding his agonies, he realizes that Lalani is troubled about his earlier experiences. Thus, he advises him not to worry about them, but think about how he can be happier and improve his life condition. After battling with an unhappy marriage, Lalani is accused of sexually molesting a young girl. However, as his buddy, Sushile knows that this is just a false accusation. Because of this, he tries to comfort him to forget about them because they are past experiences which would not affect him any more. This is an example of a true friendship which everyone should emulate. His close attachment to Lalani especially during his low moments indicates that he is a caring character who wants his friend to be happier.
Conclusively, I would like to point out that these are some of the main characters used by Vassanji in this novel. They help the audience to understand the rift between the majority and minority racial groups in Toronto at that time. On his part, Lalani is used to prove that migration to another country is not always the best thing to. His hopes of getting good jobs flopped. Later, he was oppressed by being accused of sexually harassing a young girl. However, his closeness to Sushile offers him a comfort he could not find anywhere else. In deed, No New Land is a very insightful and thought-provoking novel.