Not Nebuchadnezzar

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Luath Press, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 211 pages
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"I'm not Nebuchadnezzar, and I'm not MacBeth." So who am I? Chicago, Nairobi, Jerusalem, Cambridge, Edinburgh: the geography of Jenni Calder's life is as diverse as the ethnic, intellectual and emotional components. Jenni Calder has spent a lifetime in search of her identity, first as a daughter and sister, then as a writer, wife and mother. Not Nebuchadnezzar is a biography of sorts, a chronicle of the consuming search for that elusive concept known as 'identity'. Highly respected biographer of Robert Louis Stevenson, poet and historian, Calder has chosen an intriguingly elliptical, thematic approach to writing her own vividly presented life story. Keenly observed cameos of people and places abound but although this moving book is infused with a sense of mischief and fun, at heart it is a wise contemplation of life. Jenni Calder's retrospect describes a life well-lived, full of event and achievement, love and loss, aspiration and frustration. If you know who you are not, do you then know who you are? Jenni Calder was born Jennifer Rachel Daiches to a Scottish-born mother and English-born Jewish father in Chicago, one of America's great melting-pot cities. Not Nebuchadnezzar traces her journey from then to now. Through this book, Calder discovers that her true sense of identity can only develop from finding out who she is not. Here she balances her multiple identities to throw kaleidoscopic prisms from a single source - herself.

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CHAPTER ONE American Child
CHAPTER TWO Dead or Alive

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About the author (2005)

Jenni Calder was born in the United States but moved to Scotland in 1971. She currently lives in South Queensferry, and formerly worked for the Natiknal Museum of Scotland. She has written and lectured widely on Scottish, English and American literary and historical subjects, and writes fiction and poetry under the name Jenni Daiches. She has two daughters, a son and a dog.

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