Sometimes, only the most heartbreaking memories possess the capacity—in their elegiac immediacy—to take our breath away. With Excellent Things in Women, Sara Suleri offers the reader a delicately wrought memoir of life in postcolonial Pakistan. Suleri intertwines the violent history of Pakistan’s independence with her own intimate experiences—relating the tumult of growing up female during a time of fierce change in the Middle East in the 1960s and ’70s. In the two selections presented here, “Excellent Things in Women” and “Meatless Days,” we watch as Suleri re-encounters the relationships that inform her voyage from adolescence to womanhood—with her Welsh mother; her Pakistani father, prominent political journalist Z. A. Suleri; and her tenacious grandmother, Dadi, along with her five siblings—as she comes to terms with the difficulties of growing up and her own complicated passage to the West.