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This Place That Place

Nandita Dinesh

July 19, 2022

A nameless young woman from This Place, and a nameless young man from That Place are stuck together when That Place, the occupying force, imposes another curfew on This Place. Author Nandita Dinesh never identifies the country, but the two protagonists share a language and much of their culture. They’re also falling in love. The young woman from That Place is a De-programmer, whose job involves interviewing the military troops now patrolling outside the house where she’s holed up with the young man. He is a Protest Designer, skilled at waiting out curfews, although his brother is supposed to be getting married the next day and there’s a lot of conversations about that. While confined with the young woman, the young man explains his strategies for passing time while under curfew. He wonders how his family and neighbors will react if he marries her. Where would they live? They swap stories about their families and respective homelands, and want to imagine strategies for ending the conflict, but nothing seems doable. This is an allegory for military occupations, like what we’re currently seeing in Ukraine, but it’s happened all over the world. This Place That Place (Melville House, 2022) is also a glimpse at what it might be like for hapless citizens to be imprisoned in their own homes.

Nandita holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and an MA in Performance Studies from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. An amateur cook who loves experimenting with Indian cuisines, Nandita has conducted community-based theatre projects across a range of contexts and in 2017, she was awarded the Elliott Hayes Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramaturgy by Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. She was born and raised in Coimbatore, India and now lives in San Francisco with her husband and a 90-pound Doberman Mix named Mila. Nandita is currently working on projects across literary genres — a book that lies somewhere between a novel, a memoir, and a play being the next in line!

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