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Noreen Masud has always loved flat landscapes – their stark beauty, their formidable calm, their refusal to cooperate with the human gaze. They reflect her inner world: the ‘flat place’ she carries inside herself, emotional numbness and memory loss as symptoms of childhood trauma. But as much as Britain’s landscapes provide solace for suffering, they are also uneasy places for a Scottish-Pakistani woman, representing both an inheritance and a dispossession.
Pursuing this paradox across the wide open plains that she loves, Noreen weaves her impressions of the natural world with the poetry, folklore and history of the land, and with recollections of her own early life, rendering a startlingly strange, vivid and intimate account of a post-traumatic, post-colonial landscape – a seemingly flat and motionless place which is nevertheless defiantly alive.