Pub date: September 14, 2012
WINNER, Shaughnessey Cohen Prize for Political Writing
Longlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction
Longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
Longlisted for the Alberta Readers' Choice Award
In this ambitious blend of travel and reportage, Marcello Di Cintio travels to the world’s most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire and answer the question: What does it mean to live against the walls?
Di Cintio shares tea with Saharan refugees on the wrong side of Morocco’s desert wall. He meets with illegal Punjabi migrants who have circumvented the fencing around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona’s migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel’s security barrier.
From Native American reservations on the US-Mexico border and the “Great Wall of Montreal” to Cyprus’s divided capital and the Peace Lines of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these structures say about those who build them and how they influence the cultures that they surround. Some walls define “us” from “them” with medieval clarity. Some walls encourage fear or feed hate. Others kill. And every wall inspires its own subversion, whether by the infiltrators who dare to go over, under or around them, or by the artists who transform them.
"Yet another wonderful read from one of the best travel writers of his generation. In Walls, Marcello Di Cintio tells compelling and engrossing stories with his customary mix of vivid detail, a strong sense of history, a lovely sense of humour and, above all, a fascination with the human race in all its contradictions." - Margaret MacMillan, historian and author, Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World
"Di Cintio explores eight political hot spots – zones where walls split terrain, people and minds. With admirable legwork and vivid prose, he discovers that these walls and the communities living along both sides of them are sights of fear, illness and suspicion, but also sights of solidarity, storytelling and intense creativity. This journey is his method of engagement, and in reading it he implicates us in the tensions and suppressed ambitions of these divided societies." Moez Surani, author, Floating LIfe