A memoir of life in post-colonial Pakistan, this unusual first book doubles as a reflection on and an exercise in language as a means to personal and cultural self-definition. The daughter of a Welsh woman and a Pakistani journalist who dedicated his working life to covering his emergent nation, Suleri writes with particular insight about the cultural divide between East and West, especially as it develops among the far-flung members of her own family. Well aware of the tropes at her disposal, she tells her story with the assurance of a novelist ruminating in a nonfiction genre, employing metaphor with casual skill, and pausing amid abstract discussion to toss off unforgettable portraits of kith and kin. As Suleri observes, ``To be engulfed by grammar after all is a tricky prospect, and a voice deserves to declare its own control in any way it can, asserting that in the end it is an inventive thing.'' In interpreting an intricate past so resourcefully, Suleri, assistant professor of English at Yale, expands the usual boundaries of autobiography to include philosophical, literary, historical and linguistic issues in an elegantly unified document. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1989 Release date: 06/01/1989 Genre: Nonfiction
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