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As the refugee crisis continues to convulse whole swathes of the world and there are daily updates about the rise of homelessness in different parts of America, the idea and meaning of home is at the forefront of many people’s minds. Viet Thanh Nguyen harks to an earlier age of displacement with a haunting piece of fiction about the middle passage made by those fleeing Vietnam after the war. Rabih Alameddine brings us back to the present, as he leaves his mother’s Beirut apartment to connect with Syrian refugees who are building a semblance of normalcy, and even beauty, in the face of so much loss. Home can be a complicated place to claim, because of race—the everyday reality of which Danez Smith explores in a poem about a chance encounter at a bus stop—or because of other types of fraught history. In Vacationland,” Kerri Arsenault returns to her birthplace of Mexico, Maine, a paper mill boomtown turned ghost town, while Xiaolu Guo reflects on her childhood in a remote Chinese fishing village with grandparents who married across a cultural divide. Many readers and writers turn to literature to find a home: Leila Aboulela tells a story of obsession with a favorite author.
Also including Thom Jones, Emily Raboteau, Rawi Hage, Barry Lopez, Herta Müller, Amira Hass, and more—writers from around the world lend their voices to the theme and what it means to build, leave, return to, lose, and love a home.
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