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About the Book
In this evocative memoir, now a foundational text in postcolonial studies, an acclaimed Indian poet explores writing, memory, and place in a post-9/11 world.
Passionate, fierce, and lyrical, Fault Lines follow one woman's evolution as a writer at home--and in exile--across continents and cultures. Meena Alexander was born into a privileged childhood in India and grew into a turbulent adolescence in the Sudan, before moving to England and then New York City. With poetic insight and devastating honesty, Alexander explores how trauma and recovery shaped the entire landscape of her memory: of her family, her writing process, and her very self.
This new edition, published on the two-year anniversary of Alexander's passing in 2018, will feature a commemorative afterword celebrating her legacy.
Alexander's writing is imbued with a poetic grace shot through with an inner violence, like a shimmering piece of two-toned silk. --Ms. Magazine
Evocative and moving. --Publishers Weekly
"Fault Lines does not begin or end. It unfolds and shatters, then threatens to repeat these motions infinitely, like the geodesic patterns viewed through a kaleidoscope. --Paperback Paris
Meena Alexander will be a part of the history of global culture. She knows how it looks, feels, tastes, and sounds; how it creates and splits identity. Rith her habitual courage and subtlety and eloquence, she has interlaced the memoir's words with new experiences, perceptions, pain, and visions. Fault Lines is faultless. --Catharine R. Stimpson, founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society
Fault Lines shows us a poet intent on seeing herself straight. --Jill Ker Conway, author of True North
Meena Alexander's acute poetic sensibility makes this memoir a joy to read. At the same time, the writing is grounded enough to evoke the earthier loam of violence and reality. --Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India"With a pulsing account of her growing pains as a poet and meditations on her experiences as a 'dark female body, ' Meena Alexander enacts the process of decolonizing the imagination as ongoing, fractured, never fixed, but always sensual, full of 'the fluid stuff of desire.' Twenty years later, Alexander's mode of self-examination remains bodily and searing, and speaks powerfully and acutely to the injustices and dislocations of our times. In Fault Lines, she tells us--and herself--that 'we need a speech that acknowledges rage.' Now more than ever, we need her voice. " --Vidhu Aggarwal, author of The Trouble with Humpadori
One of the most important literary voices in South Asian American writing and American letters broadly writ, Meena Alexander's close examination of exile and migration lays bare the heart of a poet. Traveling from Allahabad to Tiruvella to Khartoum to Manhattan, Alexander's Fault Lines examines the postcolonial migrating body with a keen global understanding. Learning and losing Malayalam, Hindi, Arabic, and English, she survives through poetry. What a gift this book is to all of us, its finely crafted language, ordered to upend readers' expectations, exposing the layering of multiple migrations as they are mapped on to the psyche. Meena Alexander is a poet, thinker, and writer who sews her dislocations together into a place where all are welcome, held by her elegant, lyrical prose. --Rajiv Mohabir, author of The Cowherd's Son
About the Author
Meena Alexander (1951 - 2018) was born in Allahabad, India. She was raised both in Kerala, South India and in Khartoum, Sudan. Her many books include Illiterate Heart, The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience, In Praise of Fragments, and the critically acclaimed memoir Fault Lines.
Alexander was the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award in Literature from the South Asian Literary Association for contributions to American literature. In 2014, Meena Alexander was named a National Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. She was Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies at the City University of New York and taught in the PhD Program in English at CUNY Graduate Center and in the English Department at Hunter College.