Bread, Cement, Cactus
A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation
Author(s): Annie Zaidi
Publication Date: 28-05-2020
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.
'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