Longlisted for The People’s Book Prize 2018
From one of our finest contemporary writers whose work has been praised by J.M. Coetzee, Ali Smith and Aminatta Forna, Leila Aboulela’s Elsewhere, Home offers us a rich tableau of life as an immigrant abroad, attempting to navigate the conflicts of assimilation and difference in an unfamiliar world.
A young woman’s encounter with a former classmate elicits painful reminders of her former life in Khartoum. A wealthy Sudanese student in Aberdeen begins an unlikely friendship with a Scottish man. A woman experiences an evolving relationship to her favourite writer, whose portrait of their shared culture both reflects and conflicts with her own sense of identity.
Shuttling between the dusty, sun-baked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss and alienation that come with leaving one’s homeland in pursuit of a different life.
About the Author
Leila Aboulela is an award-winning novelist and playwright. Her novels, which were all longlisted for the Orange Prize, include The Translator (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Minaret and Lyrics Alley. Lyrics Alley was also Fiction Winner of the Scottish Book Awards. Translated into fourteen languages, Aboulela’s work has received a high profile for its distinctive exploration of identity, migration and Islamic spirituality. Aboulela grew up in Khartoum, Sudan, and now lives in Aberdeen.
‘Elsewhere, Home is a rich and poignant reflection of a Britain built – as ever – from multiple perspectives and starting points. Fragile, curious, human voices blend, lose themselves, redefine themselves. The emigrant and immigrant experiences have always been part of our storytelling; these beautifully focused tales of Khartoum, Edinburgh, London, Cairo and beyond are a delight.’ A.L. Kennedy
‘Exquisite fiction. There are gems here, elegantly cut, polished and framed. Luminous.’ Fadia Faqir
‘Full of elegance, tenderness and the small vulnerabilities that make up our lives’ Roma Tearne
‘This is the modern female voice … fresh, diverse, challenging and uninhibited’ Rachel Cusk
‘A beautiful and desolate collection … [Aboulela’s stories] distil many of her recurring concerns – immigrant loneliness, complicated romance and a portrayal of the Islamic faith that goes far beyond the cliched narrative – but without ever becoming trite. … An intimacy is created that immediately pulls the reader into the [characters’] lives. … There is so much quiet brilliance that it is a surprise for those who have only followed Aboulela’s long-form fiction to discover she has just as much mastery of the short form.’ The Observer
‘Thoughtful, wry, funny … The deceptively quiet tales in Elsewhere, Home are barbed with tension and conflict. There is the desperate homesickness of immigrants; the complications of love between believers and non-believers … [Aboulela’s] interest is with ordinary people, with everyday ambitions and desires.’ The Herald