Fragments of Grace: My Search for Meaning in the Strife of South Asia

Fragments of Grace: My Search for Meaning in the Strife of South Asia

by Pamela Constable
     
 

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Constable's book contains countless startling and poignant dispatches from South Asia: widows forced to sing for their supper in Hindu temple towns; stern Islamic clerics who rail against decadent Western music but have never heard of Beethoven; a Pakistani woman whose jealous husband carved off her face in the name of Islamic honor; a dying man saved by the Hindu…  See more details below

Overview

Constable's book contains countless startling and poignant dispatches from South Asia: widows forced to sing for their supper in Hindu temple towns; stern Islamic clerics who rail against decadent Western music but have never heard of Beethoven; a Pakistani woman whose jealous husband carved off her face in the name of Islamic honor; a dying man saved by the Hindu monkey god after the most modern medical clinic in New Delhi failed to revive him; a Nepalese shelter for young girls freed from sexual bondage; and Sri Lankan censors attempting to limit an American journalist's press freedom.

Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
In reflecting on her time reporting from South Asia, Constable, a distinguished Washington Post correspondent, combines introspection about her own life with clear-headed accounts of turmoil and conflict in India and Pakistan (including Kashmir), Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. She is particularly good at capturing the problems and remarkable dignity of people living under harsh conditions. In describing India, for example, she makes vivid the desperate poverty and religious conviction of Hindus and Muslims alike. She also made several trips to Afghanistan during and after Taliban rule and conveys well the misery of women's lives under radical Islamist rule. Throughout, Constable's combination of the public and the private gives character and authority to her account, making this far more profound than either a mere travelogue or a reporting of political events.
From the Publisher
"Fragments of Grace is likely to be come a classic: part personal memoir of a journalist filing from some of the dangerous datelines in the world, part political history of South Asia on the cusp of the 21st century, and part travelogue. The book is written with a wonderfully evocative sense of place and a novelist's intuition."

"Pam Constable’s reporting from Afghanistan has been an example of the last best hope of journalism: the use of old fashioned travel writing to capture the elusive quality of places and place facts in their proper context, both of which go missing in the mindless search for breaking news."

"It is her reverence for many of the people she has met along the way that gives her writing its special haunting quality. Pam Constable has also woven a poignant self-portrait. This is the odyssey of a foreign correspondent who turns her searing gaze on herself as well as others."

"For five years Pam Constable was our window on the coups, wars, revolutions, and assassinations that tore apart South Asia. . . . This book is a bravura performance, forcing the reader to think beyond the headlines to a better understanding of how all of our lives are affected by events halfway around an ever-shrinking world."

"[Constable] is a damned good reporter, with a keen sense of sight and sound. And she's able to make insightful analogies based on what she sees. . . . A moving memoir."

"[Constable is] a reporter of immense skill and integrity. . . . Fragements of Grace is often compulsive reading."

"Her reportage humanizes the drama, small and big, of nations, fully formed and unevolved, in permanent argument with themselves. It has the narrative frisson of a novel and the panoramic sweep of history. . . ."

"With stories, anecdotes, reflections, and her own gorgeous photos, she humanizes the details of daily life, never hesitating to examine her own role as an active participant in the events and conditions at hand. Current affairs-minded readers will appreciate Constable's persistent effort to decipher the labyrinth of factors shaping religious, ethnic, and political tensions in these volatile regions."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574886184
Publisher:
Potomac Books
Publication date:
05/30/2004
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.91(d)
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Currently based in Kabul, Afghanistan, Pamela Constable has been covering South Asia for the Washington Post since April 1999, spending four years as the region’s bureau chief. She is the coauthor with Arturo Valenzuela of A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet. She has been awarded an Alicia Patterson Fellowship and the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, and she recently completed her tenure as the Pew International Journalism Program’s journalist-in-residence.

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