Top 10 books on dual identity | Wrote

WThey all have multiple identities – the faces we wear to work, with friends, with our partners, our parents, and our children. These identities are an integral part of being human – necessary, some might say, for our survival. Some identities are easy to hide from others: visible lines are drawn by skin color, the classification of our sexual organs, and our mother tongue. As a Muslim, half Pakistani, half Nigerian woman who grew up in Britain and the United States, I have dealt with such lines all my life. I wanted to take elements of my experience—particularly the very invisible parts of my dual heritage—and weave them into a story I told a little bit about the migration of South Asians to Africa (as a product of one of these experiences myself).

my first novel, We are all Ugandan birds, tells the story of two second-generation South Asian immigrants grappling with their dual identities: one born and raised in London; The other was born and raised in Uganda. The novel explores the difficulties faced by the film’s protagonists as a result of their status as immigrants, against the background of Decree of Idi Amin in August 1972 The expulsion of all Asians from Uganda.

Literature has always been preoccupied with characters with multiple selves. Gilgamesh fought his lineage of demigods and part-humans in some of the earliest Mesopotamian tales. Poor Dr. Jekyll thought he could separate two characters without consequences. Time has passed, and in a world where the importance of representation is increasingly being recognized, modern fiction has examined some of the more realistic dual identities we can embody. The books below look at some of the factors that lead to these binaries.

1. The last one for Fatima Daas
In this autobiographical novel, translated from the French by Lara Vergneau, she discusses stepping on her queer Islamic identity as a second-generation French-Algerian immigrant. Each chapter begins with the same line: “My name is Fatima Daas” – the emphasis and emphasis on the name of the Islamic author, the supplication is no different from the surahs of the Qur’an, which all begin: “In the name of God…” The story is told in fragments of memory that take you through crucial moments in Daas’ life . A beautiful exploration of dual identities and the reconciling process of their stark struggles.

Candice Brathwaite.
Unshakable details… Candice Brathwaite. Photography: PA Images / Alamy

2. I’m Not Your Little Mom by Candice Brathwaite
Brathwaite adds this honest, funny, and down-to-earth memoir to this terrifying memoir with horrifying statistics (“Black babies have a 121% increased risk of stillbirth and a 50% increased risk of neonatal death… compared to white babies”) as she explores the life of a black woman and mother— Specifically not the infant mother. I first read this before I became a mother, but have gone back to it a few times since then. It is a book that everyone should read. Brathwaite describes in unwavering detail the near-death experience she experienced after the birth of her first child, the impact having children had on her career, relationships, and most importantly, her identity as a black woman.

3. How To Be Alike By Ali Smith
As the title hints, this novel tells two parallel stories: half the story of Francesco, a sort of revived 15th-century time traveler who comes to observe George, a child living in present-day Cambridge and deals with a modern person. Loss, who is the protagonist of the other half of the novel. The main theme is the experience of apparent opposites – including male and female, sadness and joy, past and future.

4. If they come to us with the pen of Fatima Asghar
A collection of beautiful, touching poems by a Pakistani woman who was orphaned as a child and now lives in the United States. The book transcends themes of belonging, gender, identity, violence, and grief. The dream poem, in which Asghar describes “Strangers’ Dance in My Blood / The Old Woman’s Sari Turns to the Wind”, is one of my favorite poems anywhere.

5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
When Nigerian-born Ifemelu moves to America, she must contend with American society’s perception of her identity. The protagonist vacillates between embracing what she initially sees as a dual Nigerian-American identity – complete with a quintessential American accent – and an identity she feels more true to herself which she explores in a blog about race.

6. Name composed by Jhumpa Lahiri
In her first novel, Lahiri looks at how our names shape identity, telling the story of a Bengali-American family and their son Gogol. Spanning three decades of Gogol’s life in the United States, Gogol is constantly immersed between two identities: the Bengali culture of his parents and the American in which he was raised.

David Harwood.
David Harwood. Photograph: Noah Asanias/The Guardian

7. Maybe I Don’t Belong Here by David Harwood
In this memoir, Harwood recounts the events leading up to a psychotic episode that divided him and his hospitalization, as well as its aftermath. It’s a great read and a topic we don’t hear about enough – Black Male Mental Health – as Harwood explores the side effects of being black and British. He writes: “There was now half black and half English and I could feel myself slowly disintegrating.” Medical notes from Whittington Psychiatric Hospital read: “The patient thinks it’s two people.”

8. Coconut by Florence Olagedi
Young Olájídé is sent by her Nigerian parents to a white foster family in Britain and then returns with her family to Nigeria years later as she struggles to reconcile with being a young Nigerian woman growing up in Britain. The culture clash, the unfamiliarity with the homeland, the longing to return to England, along with the pride of being a Nigerian are all beautifully handled.

9. Natasha Brown Compilation
Don’t be fooled by the length of this novel, which is less than 100 pages – it packs a serious punch. In the footage, she tells the story of an unnamed black woman visiting her boyfriend’s white parents’ home in rural England for a party, against the backdrop of her disappointment and unease with the multiple identities she was forced to adopt while working in the city and mixing with the white middle class. In the end, she must choose her life.

10. The death of Jim Looney by James Welch
This distressing classic explores the potentially devastating consequences of failing to reconcile dual inheritance. The protagonist is a mixed Native American and white blood, and despite his happy enough childhood, ends up being drawn into grief and an identity crisis that has misunderstood his girlfriend and sister.

We are all Ugandan birds Hafsa Zayan, published by #Merky Books (£12.99). It has been shortlisted for the 2022 Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Prize, the winner of which will be announced Thursday, September 8.

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