Trinity University Press

Terroir

Love, Out of Place

Natasha Sajé (author)

A memoir-in-essays exploring how identity is shaped by place and its people

The word “terroir” refers to the climate and soil in which something is grown. Natasha Sajé 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, Sajé asks how terroir creates identity. Throughout, the English language is her most fertile ground.

Praise

“A complex and full-hearted book. As Sajé grapples with what it means to be a human living in community with other humans, she must also consider complicating questions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, professional and familial loyalties, nationality, and economic class. This is not a book to suggest we are all human and therefore all the same, capable of loving and being loved. Rather, in these pages Sajé struggles with what makes us all different, and what it means when she stands by someone in the face of all that might set her and all others apart.”

Camille T. Dungy, author of Guidebook to Relative Strangers

“Such a gorgeous memoir-in-essays. One of the most beautiful and intimate self-portraits I’ve read in recent years. Sajé's mix of intellectual chops and emotional candor creates an unsparing account of one smart and compassionate person’s life. That this life becomes a conduit and critique of the last forty or so years of political and social upheaval is an added and bracing benefit for the reader. I can’t say, ‘I couldn’t put this book down.’ On the contrary, I put the book down quite often to further reflect upon rich worlds and observations it opened for me.

Robin Hemley, author of Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood

More reviews »
Terroir cover
  • Price: $17.95
  • Pages: 224
  • Size: 8.5 x 5.5
  • Published: Nov 2020
  • Status: Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 9781595349323
  • B&W photos: 35
  • Price: $16.99
  • Published: Nov 2020
  • Status: Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 9781595349330

Subjects

Essays, Literature, Memoir