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Bread, Cement, Cactus
A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation

£9.95

  • Date Published: May 2020
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108814638

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About the Authors
  • In this exploration of the meaning of home, Annie Zaidi reflects on the places in India from which she derives her sense of identity. She looks back on the now renamed city of her birth and the impossibility of belonging in the industrial township where she grew up. From her ancestral village, in a region notorious for its gangsters, to the mega-city where she now lives, Zaidi provides a nuanced perspective on forging a sense of belonging as a minority and a migrant in places where other communities consider you an outsider, and of the fragility of home left behind and changed beyond recognition. Zaidi is the 2019/ 2020 winner of the Nine Dots Prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary social issues. This title is also available as Open Access.

    • 2019/ 2020 winner of the Nine Dots Prize, for creative thinking that tackles contemporary social issues
    •  A personal yet researched exploration of identity in the author's India that will resonate with readers worldwide
    • Available in Open Access
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A wonderful book. A profound journey through memory, language, land and culture. Beautifully written, soberly devised, exquisitely sensitive to nuance. It grapples with identity fractured, identity remade, identity reclaimed, and elevates memoir to a literary art form.' Bidisha, journalist, broadcaster, film-maker and author of Asylum and Exile: Hidden Voices

    'Annie Zaidi's gripping memoir of her brave, persistent and poignant search for a place to call her own will ring many bells in many hearts. It is a timely account of the uprooting and alienation of a contemporary Indian woman who is one amongst a multitude of other minorities.' Lord Meghnad Desai, Member of the House of Lords, and author of The Raisina Model: Indian Democracy at 70 and The Rediscovery of India

    'Zaidi resets the perspectives from which we understand and remember the experience of home. With the same intuitiveness that permeates her sensitive fictions, she uses the personal to lay bare the new universality of home, redefining it as an unsettled, turbulent condition that we must continuously contend, negotiate, and compromise with to our incremental loss.' Musharraf A. Farooqi, author of Between Clay and Dust and The Merman and the Book of Power

    'A compelling exploration of the intimate and political sides of an itinerant life. … (A) haunting evocation of belonging and dislocation in contemporary India.' Ashish Ghadiali, The Observer

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2020
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108814638
    • length: 166 pages
    • dimensions: 215 x 138 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.22kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Acknowledgements
    1. Survivors Shall be Prosecuted
    2. Gur, Imarti, Goons
    3. Listening to Mother
    4. The Wandering Brother
    5. Passport to Irrecoverable Places
    6. Mixed Blood
    7. Outsiders at Home
    8. Grave Politics
    9. Place Like Home
    Select Bibliography.

  • Author

    Annie Zaidi
    Annie Zaidi is a freelance journalist and scriptwriter based in Mumbai, India, and was named by Elle magazine as one of the emerging South Asian writers 'whose writing … will enrich South Asian literature'. Her first novel, Prelude to a Riot was published in 2019. Other books include Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, a collection of essays based on her experiences as a reporter, which was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2010, and Love Stories # 1 to 14, a collection of short fiction published in 2012. She also edited the anthology Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women's Writing, published in 2015.

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