Virgins Always Bleed -Lemlem Tilahun

A semi-biography of a nostalgic someone living far from home. A memoir of sorts to those who lived these pages, who cherish them, and wonder why no one has ever come close to writing something like this. The book is written by an English as a second language speaker who thinks people like her should be allowed to tell their story [too] using the language and grammar – tone/viewpoint – that comes naturally to them. The writer has a problem with a world that requires her writing to be as fluent and palatable as those born into an English-language speaking family and could go to Oxford and Cambridge for their education. She sees it as a form of discrimination, as a way to silence the non-English speaking world from speaking [in English], while Western writers are allowed to tell her story in a way that makes her shake her head in disappointment [Dave Eggers’ “What is the What” comes to mind]. And finally, she hopes this “work” does the little it can to change that culture.

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