Soft Weapons: Autobiography in transit
University of Chicago Press, $20 pb, 249 pp
Anyone browsing in bookstores in the past five years has undoubtedly come across one of the dozens of life narratives that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. The attack on the World Trade Centre and the consequent ‘war on terror’ produced a new market for the publishing industry – and it has deluged us with offerings. Prominent among them are the sensational, eroticised best-sellers by Muslim women recounting their persecution under the Taliban; journalistic accounts of war by ‘embedded’ Western news correspondents from Afghanistan and Iraq; edited oral histories offering testimony by refugees to the trauma of war in the Middle East; and memoirs of exile by Iranian women living in the United States.