One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists and winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book Award, Bangladeshi-born author Tahmima Anam’s The Face: Third World Blues movingly explores the double binds placed on people who immigrate to the “developed” world.
You arrive in America for the first time, a misfit on levels you cannot entirely grasp—if you could grasp them, you would not be the misfit you are. Your separateness comes to define you; you call it your “thirdliness.” You hope to overcome it, at first; soon you realize it is inescapable, and begin to question your desire to escape it.
In The Face: Third World Blues, Tahmima Anam tells a story of immigration, “passing,” and self-construction as she comes to the United States for college from Bangladesh, falls in love, gets married, moves to the United Kingdom, and has children—all filtered through the contradictory expectations placed on those who are inevitably seen as “foreign.” With humor, precision, and verve, Anam explores life between contexts, and the possibilities, openings, and fissures that emerge from such mobility.
Alternately philosophical, funny, personal, political, and poetic, the short memoirs in The Face series offer unique perspectives on race, culture, identity, and the human experience from some of our most dynamic literary writers.
Tahmima Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in Paris, Bangkok, and New York. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in social anthropology from Harvard University. She is the author of the Bengal Trilogy of novels—A Golden Age, The Good Muslim, and The Bones of Grace – which chronicles three generations of the Haque family, from the Bangladesh war of independence to the present day. A Golden Age was awarded the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. In 2013, she was named one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. She writes often for The Guardian, Financial Times, Granta, and other publications, including the International New York Times, where she is a contributing opinion writer.