I was in my twenties when I first read a memoir set in my father’s city of Lahore, where I spent my childhood. At the time, I was living in Syracuse, New York. days without meat I was hungry, I immersed myself in familiar places and people, and when I finished I read it again. I didn’t consider myself a novelist yet, but running into someone else’s Lahore made me think that the story of my affiliation might be page-worthy. My father is Pakistani, I was born in Austria and now live in the United States.There are many places I come from. I couldn’t imagine it…in a book that explores identity. Over the next few years, I set aside a special bookshelf for memoirs interwoven with different parts of the world, as if Cairo or Tehran were talismans for the books I would one day write.
when i started We take our city with us: a memoir, I dusted off the shelves and devoured the collection from start to finish. We traveled to now familiar places in Port-au-Prince and Gaza while adding new destinations such as Jaffna and Nsukka. For writers, memoirs set around the world are living examples of places that can be identified wherever they are. teeth story. As a reader, I’ve seen authors weave their cities into stories and into themselves. And as someone whose sense of belonging transcends borders, this memoir gives me hope that I may still find (and write) the thread that connects Maastricht, Islamabad, and Syracuse to each other and to me. .
brother i’m dying Edwidge Danticat
In telling the story of two brothers layered by histories of birth and death, Edwidge Danticat details the struggles of belonging to multiple countries at the same time: Haiti and the United States.But brother i’m dying is also a love story told by a daughter who chronicles the story of two fathers, their different lives and the journey between them. In Danticat’s hands, history is not a time or a place. It dwells in love, sorrow and identity and transcends borders. Her memoir is powerful and beautiful in her ability to revive her two men who are dead but alive in her love.
dark tourist Hasantika Sirisena
of dark tourist, Hasanthika Sirisena, a collection of essays, takes us on a journey of self-discovery where different identities, histories and places meet like North Carolina and Jaffna. She accompanies her as she revisits her relationship with her mother, who died too early, and her father, who has remarried in secret. We travel with her to Sri Lanka where she visits the sites of Sri Lanka’s civil war and tackles the haunting category of ‘Dark Her Tourism’. All the while, she asks us to think about the beauty of art and its potential to save us.
looking for Palestine Nazira Said
The subtitle of Najla Said’s memoir is Growing up confused in an Arab-American family, captures only one side of this charming, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny book. With a famous father and a complicated background, Saeed’s crystal clear voice is a testament to her growing up in a private school in New York City, where children are rare and her identity (Palestinian being one of them). It tells a harrowing tale of trying to understand she looks like her This memoir is basically the story of a place in between, a breath of fresh air for those of us who live there.
Persepolis 2 Marjan Satrapi
Memoirs of Marjane Satrapi Persepolis 2 It talks about a young woman’s struggle with belonging. Satrape was an outsider to her at her home in Iran and soon discovered she had arrived in Austria to study her art. Iranian and global political backgrounds complicate the personal stakes in this coming-of-age story of a young woman trying to make sense of herself and the world. , at times entertaining and ultimately a devastating tale.
Belongs Nora Krug
Belongs, Nora Krug’s graphic memoir unravels the mysteries of her German family’s history during World War II. Travel effortlessly into a painstaking investigation of the past. Her Krug theme is Germany, but she asks bigger questions about history and what it means to belong to a country. Along the way, the reader is given a valuable gift. Krug unlocks the mysteries of her research by showing what her research looks like: photographs, letters, objects, documents, interviews, handwriting, archives.
border crossing Layla Ahmed
of border passage, Leila Ahmed connects many worlds, including her original hometown of Cairo and her final hometown of America. Her story is a reminder that immigrants have a home wherever they go. Like all memoirs, it captures a bygone period in the author’s life, but also Egypt, the country Ahmed was a child at the end of colonialism (long before the Arab Spring). She has written poignantly about the multiple worlds of Islam, including that of the women who raised her, suggesting that history shapes us as much as people.
olive witch By Abeer Y. Hawke
Growing up is challenging, but seldom harder than Abeer Y. Hoque’s self-proclaimed cross-cultural memoir. olive witch Travel across three continents, traveling from Nigeria to the United States to Bangladesh, across the thorny realm of mental illness. Hoke’s prose is bright, sprinkled with poetry and weather conditions, as if to help ground us in this struggle for belonging.
days without meat Sarah Sureli
Settled in the United States, Sarah Suleli had a Pakistani father and a Welsh mother, but she writes about her family and Lahore as if Lahore was the magnet that held her world together. Her related essays are language and craft lessons, read like stories in this elegiac book. Written in the shadow of death, this book is about how memory works, much like the life it tries to capture. Memories are stories, Suleri seems to say. Because she’s piecing things together after her mother and sisters die.