Friday, August 21, 2020

Bread, Cement, Cactus now out in India

Bread, Cement, Cactus: A memoir of belonging and dislocation is now available in the USA and in India, in print as well as in ebook form, and in the UK, of course. Please buy at your nearest bookstore or look it up online.

Here are some reviews: 

"In the end, the architecture of the book attempts to lead us towards a counter-resolution that will establish home instead in the paradise of personal experience – in “the morning mist” for example – but this is never as convincing as the lasting sense of indignation and injustice that Zaidi evokes. “What belongs to whom?” she asks. “Who pays the costs of what is taken and cannot be returned?” These are questions perhaps more powerful than the answers Zaidi can provide, but it’s through questions such as these that she points towards the deeper mysteries of our human condition."

- The Guardian 

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jun/14/bread-cement-cactus-by-annie-zaidi-review-indignation-and-injustice

"Zaidi is keen to tell the stories of people who lose power, and then have to give up ground. The migrants who live on the margins; the Adivasis, who “displaced often, end up in cities where they are reduced to penury and homelessness”; and minorities, including Muslims who face bias in everyday life.

So, this safe place called home, does it exist? For her, a home is where she wants to return to, the heart being a compass. Sometimes, she thinks of home as morning mist, wispy and beyond her grasp."

- The Hindu

https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/bread-cement-cactus-a-memoir-of-belonging-and-dislocation-review-about-a-place-called-home/article31922263.ece


The disenfranchisement of women, anti-migrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric, ghastly incidents such as how the body of a Dalit person was airdropped from a bridge to avoid the upper caste section of a crematorium, and the British legacies that still enable the displacement of forest dwellers and exploitation of natural resources, are juxtaposed alongside personal meditations. At one point, the author recalls how an experiment of living on the urban poverty line of Rs47 a day, even as a person without dependents, made her quickly realise: ‘…all the things that lend me a feeling of home—language, history, memory—would dissolve into the overwhelming consideration of hunger. Food would be home.’

In prose that is admirably both poetic and compact, Zaidi creates in Bread, Cement, Cactus both a memoir of her own multiple belongings as well as a tract that sets out India’s various modalities of displacement. ‘Dislocation can be abrupt but the internal compass dissolves slowly,’ she writes. This book ponders not only that slow dissolution, but a subsequent reassembling too—but always, with the sober acknowledgment of fragmentations yet to come.

- Open magazine

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