On Kazim Ali’s “Northern Light”

Anjali Vaidya in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

Once upon a time, I decided to start answering the question “Where are you from?” with “The middle of the Pacific Ocean.” I never followed through, though I still think it’s a good answer. I have spent so much of my life bouncing back and forth between the United States and India that, for me, the concept of home is more like a stationary probability distribution — a phrase that I filched from a statistics paper once, and which is likely to make less sense to most people than “the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” After all, the latter at least counts as a place.

All of which is to say that the central themes of Kazim Ali’s Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water resonated so strongly with me that I cannot pretend to be objective about how much I loved the book. I was captured by its compelling themes of global desi homelessness and what it means to love places that are not our own — what it means when none of the places we love are our own, but we belong to them anyway.

More here.