Half a century ago, the Palestinian writer Edward Said described the state of exile as ‘the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home’. Its essential sadness, he believed, was not surmountable. The crippling sorrows of exile and estrangement, and the disfiguring legacies of intergenerational trauma, pervade Katherine Johnson’s powerful new novel. At its heart, it is also a poignant exploration of our stumbling efforts to seek solace in the world and the ways in which we attempt to overcome dislocation.
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