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Being Here (Hardback)


Historical Fiction

Imprint: University Press of Kentucky
Series: University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose Series
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9780813182520
Published: 28th February 2022
Casemate UK Academic

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"We are all now writing stories. Sometimes in memory, sometimes in air. The wind lifts and passes us in gusts. Our stories scatter over continents, camouflaged histories we cannot share. "In this exquisite collection of short stories, readers are introduced to individuals whose existence reveals "the daily miracle" of their inner lives. With eloquent, lush language, Manini Nayar brings to the forefront immigrant women making their way in the world as mothers, wives, as outliers, and as rebels. She writes about their insistence on autonomy and on the absurdity and triumphs of their struggles.


While readers will meet a wide array of characters throughout the stories, it is Nina with whom they will become most familiar as she appears throughout the collection: first, as a young wife brought to the US by her husband, Siddarth Vellodi; second, as an older sister; and third, as a (divorced) mother whose daughter tragically ran away years before. This work speaks to the obstacles with marriage, tradition, and culture - "Wives were not to be loved but endured like a menstrual headache. Her own husband had not loved her nor she him. But the Dear Departed had given her a son who was hers and hers only" - and the challenges with finding one's voice in a country whose language and communication can often be misconstrued and misunderstood. Being Here provides a compelling and profound voice to lived experiences, and exudes with remarkable observations, reflective insights, and poetic prose.

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