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Name Place Animal Thing

Longlisted | Book Awards 2021 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

Name Place Animal Thing

In this novella, Daribha Lyndem gently lifts the curtain on the coming of age of a young Khasi woman and the politically charged city of Shillong in which she lives. Like the beloved school game from which it takes its name, the book meanders through ages, lives and places. The interconnected stories build on each other to cover the breadth of a childhood, and move into the precarious awareness of adulthood. A shining debut, Name Place Animal Thing is an elegant examination of the porous boundaries between the adult world and that of a child’s.

Full Title: Name Place Animal Thing

Author: Daribha Lyndem
Publisher: Zubaan

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

In this novella, Daribha Lyndem gently lifts the curtain on the coming of age of a young Khasi woman and the politically charged city of Shillong in which she lives. Like the beloved school game from which it takes its name, the book meanders through ages, lives and places. The interconnected stories build on each other to cover the breadth of a childhood, and move into the precarious awareness of adulthood. A shining debut, Name Place Animal Thing is an elegant examination of the porous boundaries between the adult world and that of a child’s.


About the Author: 

Daribha Lyndem is a writer and civil servant from Shillong. Name Place Animal Thing is her first book. She currently works with the Indian Revenue Service and a Deputy Commissioner of Customs. Daribha now lives with two cats and a husband in Mumbai.


Excerpt: 

Once we all had our teacups in our hands, we sat on small round muras around the fireplace. When the embers stopped smouldering, the women edged closer to the fireplace and my grandmother shovelled coal into it, stoking the fire. The flames would choke and sputter as the fireplace was filled, and the women edged further away as it grew hot, and they began to sweat. I never sat too close that year because my mother had bought me a very expensive pair of sneakers, the first ones I owned. I could not risk the cinder falling on them. Those handling the wreaths could not sit too close to the fire or the flowers would wilt. I watched them as they nimbly put flower after flower, nestling them in fern, making a pattern on the twig frames. The floor was always littered with the dark green ferns, while the flowers were laid out safely in buckets. The smell of the thuja plant permeated the air as though we had brought my grandmother’s entire garden in.


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