Bread, Cement, Cactus: A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation
Author: Annie Zaidi
9781108814638 | PB | pp. (viii+159) | 2020 | Cambridge University Press
Annie Zaidi’s gripping memoir of her brave, persistent and poignant search for a place to call her own is a timely account of the uprooting and alienation of a contemporary Indian woman who is one amongst a multitude of other minorities.
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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.
In her book, Zaidi resets the perspectives from which we understand and remember the experience of home, and 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.
Cambridge University Press
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