Meena Alexander's Fault Lines was first published in 1993 and expanded in 2003. It is a memoir that, like many of Alexander's other works, focuses primarily on "trauma, migration, and memory," as well as trauma's "impact on subjectivity, and the violence that often compels people to cross borders." Alexander is known for her lyrical poetry, and her memoir contains much of her signature poetic style.
Alexander was born to a Syrian Christian family in Allahabad, a city in southern India. Her father was a scientist who worked for the Indian government, which provided Alexander with a privileged early childhood. When she was five, her family relocated to Sudan for her father's work. Alexander had a "turbulent adolescence" in Sudan, but enrolled in Khartoum University at age 13 and went on to study English and French literature. At age 18, she relocated to England to complete a Ph.D program at Nottingham University. The theme of fractured identity in Fault Lines stems from Alexander's multicultural and multilingual upbringing.
Alexander moved to New York and started working as an assistant professor at Fordham University in 1980. In 1987, she started an assistant professorship at CUNY Hunter College. She went on to teach English and Women's Studies for several years. Alexander was appointed as a Distinguished Professor in the English department in 1999 and continues working at Hunter College to this day.