Prelude to a Riot - Annie Zaidi

Prelude to a Riot

Annie Zaidi

Aleph Book Company

A tale of political unrest in a small unknown town woven together in a series of soliloquies.

In a peaceful southern town, amidst lush spice plantations, trouble is brewing. In the town live three generations of two families, one Hindu and the other Muslim, whose lives will be changed forever by the coming violence. At risk are Dada, the ageing grandfather who lovingly tends and talks to the plants on his estate; his strong-willed grandchildren, Abu and Fareeda; the newly married Devaki, who cannot fathom the forces that are turning her husband and her father into fanatics; Mariam, of the gifted hands, who kneads and pounds the fatigued muscles of tourists into submission; and Garuda, the high-school teacher who, in his own desperate way, is trying to impart the truth about the country’s history to a classroom of uninterested students. Quietly but surely, the spectre of religious intolerance is beginning to haunt the community in the guise of the Self-Respect Forum whose mission is to divide the town and destroy the delicate balance of respect and cooperation that has existed for hundreds of years.

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About the author

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Annie Zaidi

Annie Zaidi is the author of Bread, Cement, Cactus: A memoir of belonging and dislocation, Prelude to a Riot, Gulab, Love Stories # 1 to 14, Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, and the editor of Unbound: 2000 Years of Indian Women's Writing. She is the recipient of the Nine Dots Prize (2019) and The Hindu Playwright Award (2018) for her play, Untitled 1. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and literary journals including The Griffith Review, The Aleph Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Charles River Journal, and The Missing Slate.