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Bread, Cement, Cactus Reviews

Bread, Cement, Cactus by Annie Zaidi

Bread, Cement, Cactus: A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation

Annie Zaidi

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 28 May 2020
ISBN: 9781108840644

In this prize-winning exploration of the meaning of home, Annie Zaidi reflects on the cultural conflicts in India that have shaped her identity. Zaidi provides a nuanced perspective on land and regional affinity, migration and otherisation, and the ways in which memory works to attach us to a particular place.

4 stars out of 5
Ashish Ghadiali
14 Jun 2020

"A compelling exploration of the intimate and political sides of an itinerant life"

Each chapter is a standalone essay, as Zaidi looks back to the successive settings of an itinerant past, successfully dovetailing personal reflection with political analysis so that, in each location, intimate memories work as jumping-off points for research and investigation into the macro-trends that are shaping contemporary India. In that Rajasthani township, JK Puram, for example, Zaidi’s recollection of youthful discontent plays into a reckoning with the horror of tribal dispossession as stories from her childhood of “Bhil tribesmen … who could relieve kids of their valuables” are slowly recast.