Terroir: Love, Out of Place (Paperback)
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The word "terroir" refers to the climate and soil in which something is grown. Natasha Saj applies this idea to the environments that nurture and challenge us, exploring in particular how the immigrant experience has shaped her identity. She revisits people and literature across her life, including her experiences as the child of European refugees in suburban New Jersey, taken under the wing of a widowed neighbor; a winter spent waitressing in Switzerland; her marriage to a Jamaican man in Baltimore; and finally her marriage to a woman in Salt Lake City. This memoir-in-essays combines poetic lyricism with incisive commentary on nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Reminding us that change is constant in our lives, Saj asks how terroir creates identity. Throughout, the English language is her most fertile ground.