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A Shield of Coolest Air
A Language in Common
By Marion Molteno

about the book
A vivid collection of stories based on the author's years an an adult education worker, mainly among women from India and Pakistan. The society in which they find themselves is alien, often hostile. Yet as they discover more about each other friendships develop across the boundaries of language and culture.

The women in these stories become as real as close friends. Frail, elderly Mrs G.K. Ramgharia as she learns to write . Farida who has to hide her shame that her husband is violent . Premila caught between her loyalty to her brothers and her desire to support her daughter in arranging her own marriage . Shanaz, who seems so warm and open, yet has areas of privacy she will not allow anyone to breach ... Each story is different, each gives an entrée to daily lives their English neighbours hardly see. It is impossible to read this book and come away with stereotypes.

'The most extraordinary book of short stories - one of the first attempts to straddle in fiction the social divide between white Britons and Asians. Her compassion never degenerates into sentimentality, and her sensitive perceptions come from a decade of getting to know her characters.' Ahmed Rashid, The Independent

'She has an ability to fully create a world and draw the reader down into it so that one can almost feel and even smell it, it is so close. And what she says is of importance, of value, to our society and to our time.' Anita Desai, novelist

Price: £6.99
ISBN: 9 780958 218603
1st published by The Women's Press. This edition by Addenda, New Zealand
To order this title please email sales@longstonebooks.co.uk

Books by Marion Molteno are distributed in the UK by www.centralbooks.com, in New Zealand by www.addenda.co.nz, in Australia by www.towerbooks.com.au

A Language in Common

A Language in Common is also available in:

  • Audio edition (Feminist Books for the Blind)
  • Italian: Una Lingua in commune (Lindau Press)
    ISBN: 88 7180 012 5
  • German: Eine Sprache gemeinsam [Rotpunktverlag]
    ISBN: 3 85869 097 X

Asian language editions of A Language in Common are available from Longstone Books @ £5.99 each

  • Urdu - translation by Safia Siddiqi and Ralph Russell
  • Panjabi - translation by Joginder Shamsher
  • Bengali - translation by Anima Dasgupta
To order any of these titles please email sales@longstonebooks.co.uk
A Language in Common


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