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Cover for Being Here

Being Here

Stories (University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose)

Manini Nayar


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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 radiant collection of stories, readers are introduced to individuals whose existence reveals the "daily miracle" of their inner lives. Manini Nayar brings to the forefront immigrant women making their way in the world as mothers, wives, outliers and rebels. She writes about their insistence on autonomy and the absurdity and triumphs of their struggles.

These stories loop and double back across time and locales, connecting characters through memory while illumining lives forever recast by an offhand phrase, an act of will, or an unsought encounter. A girl battles with her eccentric neighbor still pining for the British Raj who prefers cats to daughters. A bride's untimely death seems to deny a computer salesman his American Dream. A woman arriving in New York soon after 9/11 understands how history spills into the future. While readers will meet a wide array of characters, 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, Siddharth Vellodi; then as an older sister; and later, as a (divorced) mother whose daughter's fateful rebellion remains the mysterious and incandescent center of the collection. In poetic and eloquent prose, Being Here provides a compelling and profound voice to lived experiences, and "delights with its humor, passion and pathos."

University Press of Kentucky, 9780813182520, 170pp.

Publication Date: February 15, 2022

About the Author

Manini Nayar is Associate Teaching Professor of English and Women's Studies at Penn State, University Park, PA. Her award-winning stories have been broadcasted by the BBC World Service, and are published in Boston Review, Shenandoah, The Bellevue Literary Review, London Magazine, Stand, The Malahat Review, and The Alaska Quarterly Review.