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Fragments of Grace: My Search for Meaning in the Strife of South Asia Paperback – June 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


"Fragments of Grace is likely to be come a classic: part personal memoir of a journalist filing from some of the dangerous datelines in the world, part political history of South Asia on the cusp of the 21st century, and part travelogue. The book is written with a wonderfully evocative sense of place and a novelist's intuition."

"Pam Constable’s reporting from Afghanistan has been an example of the last best hope of journalism: the use of old fashioned travel writing to capture the elusive quality of places and place facts in their proper context, both of which go missing in the mindless search for breaking news."

"It is her reverence for many of the people she has met along the way that gives her writing its special haunting quality. Pam Constable has also woven a poignant self-portrait. This is the odyssey of a foreign correspondent who turns her searing gaze on herself as well as others."

"For five years Pam Constable was our window on the coups, wars, revolutions, and assassinations that tore apart South Asia. . . . This book is a bravura performance, forcing the reader to think beyond the headlines to a better understanding of how all of our lives are affected by events halfway around an ever-shrinking world."

"[Constable] is a damned good reporter, with a keen sense of sight and sound. And she's able to make insightful analogies based on what she sees. . . . A moving memoir."

"[Constable is] a reporter of immense skill and integrity. . . . Fragements of Grace is often compulsive reading."

"Her reportage humanizes the drama, small and big, of nations, fully formed and unevolved, in permanent argument with themselves. It has the narrative frisson of a novel and the panoramic sweep of history. . . ."

"With stories, anecdotes, reflections, and her own gorgeous photos, she humanizes the details of daily life, never hesitating to examine her own role as an active participant in the events and conditions at hand. Current affairs-minded readers will appreciate Constable's persistent effort to decipher the labyrinth of factors shaping religious, ethnic, and political tensions in these volatile regions."

About the Author

Currently based in Kabul, Afghanistan, Pamela Constable has been covering South Asia for the Washington Post since April 1999, spending four years as the region’s bureau chief. She is the coauthor with Arturo Valenzuela of A Nation of Enemies: Chile Under Pinochet. She has been awarded an Alicia Patterson Fellowship and the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, and she recently completed her tenure as the Pew International Journalism Program’s journalist-in-residence.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574886193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574886191
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,379,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By mayank on May 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
coming from pamela constable, expectations always run high. and just a decent book won't do. as someone who has almost religiously followed her articles on south asia, one expects nothing below a 'fine' book. weighed down by the baggage of such high hopes, ms constable's book on south asia has come at a time when the bookworld is already cluttered with emotional outpourings (sometimes too sentimental for a coherent and sensible read) from western correspondents who sounds either too patronising or too much in awe of this part of this world with all its engrossing exotica of soulful sufidom, AK-57 style violence, religious fanaticism, pathetic poverty, terrible tragedies and so on. not surprisingly as i opened the book, i had already started feeling a partial sense of disappointment fearing that this well-intentioned book too will end up as a hugely inflated exercise in self-important all-knowing arrogance of one of those foreign correspondents.......
now the surprising part: all my fears were uncalled for. one of the best thing about pamela constable is obviously the fact that she is a great reporter and has a clever skill of unravelling the story behind the headlines in a very unobtrusive, unreporter-like manner.....that is in a very humane and sympathetic way..... but good correspondent she may be, she is even a better writer. a very good writer indeed! and 'Fragments of Grace' proves just that thing.
as a book-lover perennially struggling to somehow reconcile his books-buying sprees with his limited personal finances, i strongly insist that this book is worth it. if there's is one book you want to buy this year, then let it be this. it has to be part of one's private library! i assure you that there wont be regrets.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sanjay Mathur on August 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read most of this book on a long flight from Delhi to Los Angeles. I was inspired to buy the book by a favorable review in an Indian newspaper... For me, the greatest value of the book is the personal story of what it takes to bring us "the story" from conflict-ridden parts of the world, particularly Afghanistan in this case, but also Pakistan and to a lesser extent, Sri Lanka. Anyone aspiring to be a foreign correspondent should read this book... However, it must be admitted that Ms. Constable does not have a real sense of history. Her history on Kashmir and even the lead-up to the Taliban regime is full of gaps, as is the history of the Sri Lanka conflict. Noone should read this book alone and think they understand why Kashmir is what it is, who the Taliban were and how they came to power, and what is the diversity of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka or the long history of that conflict since colonization. Ms. Constable should not be faulted for this, she admits herself that this is more a personal document than history... As a personal document, and as a person, Fragments of Grace and Ms. Constable are worthy of admiration. What courage, what honesty, what compassion, what literature - her book was written not for personal profit, only somewhat for public enlightenment, it was written most of all out of a personal search for meaning, and on these terms it excels. One can only admire what it takes for journalists to give us the story we read with our daily cup of coffee, far far away from the conflicts we follow and can hardly fathom.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mayank singh on July 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
it is a good book. and this good book has a good title - The Fragments of Grace. i live in new delhi and commute everyday to a 9-6 office. in the morning rush hour, as my bus crosses over the yamuna river, we always get stuck in a traffic jam....the buses in which I travel are always clogged tight with sweating commuters and it feels like such a distressing situation im always reminded of nazi cattle cars used for transportation of times while trapped inside these baked tin drums, i happen to look out from a side window and see the calm, dream-like, majestic dome of emperor humayun's tomb standing just across the road.......somehow someway it always make me feel beautiful about myself. while being crushed, pulled, pushed and mauled by surrounding commuters, I always try to frame a phrase that would exactly describe that nice feeling on seeing that beautiful monument. but the quest for that perfect articulation always eluded me.......thankfully, pamela constable's book-title did that job for me......humayun's tomb stands out like a 'fragment of grace' even as all sort of maddening chaos continue to fret and fume round it........
there are many decent writers around but a good writer is one which helps to articulate the reader's own feelings and perceptions even if that was not the intention in the first i was very moved and almost screamed out saying 'hey, this is me' when constable talked about her parents: 'even when we are in the same room, we remain worlds apart".......or when she confessed "seeing friends and mates they were never able to accept"......such paragraphs in this intensely personal memoir made me pause and think about my own parents and about my own life.......
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