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When home is not fixed

Three débuts on new homelands
by
October 2023, no. 458

Untethered by Ayesha Inoon

HQ Fiction, $32.99 pb, 306 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

The Scope of Permissibility by Zeynab Gamieldien

Ultimo Press, $34.99 pb, 311 pp

When home is not fixed

Three débuts on new homelands
by
October 2023, no. 458

The migrant’s story is defined by a push and pull between homelands left and new ones found – past and present, tradition and modernity, family and fragmentation are constantly at odds with each other. The migrant’s child’s story enters a new space of liminality, belonging to two cultures, yet being outside both, creating a potential crisis of identity as profound as a crisis of home. The migrant’s grandchild continues the narrative, unearthing intergenerational fractures.

Where academic research and news media coverage often neglect the migrant as an individual, novelists resist simplistic framing. They can blur the barriers between fiction, memoir, historical investigation, and cultural myth. International classics like Michael Ondaatje’s Running In The Family (1982), Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981), and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), have long told of identity stretched across place in this way.

Now, full of nuance, three Australian débuts construct a mosaic of intersecting identities: the migrant, the Muslim, and the woman.

Untethered

Untethered

by Ayesha Inoon

HQ Fiction, $32.99 pb, 306 pp

The Scope of Permissibility

The Scope of Permissibility

by Zeynab Gamieldien

Ultimo Press, $34.99 pb, 311 pp

Once A Stranger

Once A Stranger

by Zoya Patel

Hachette, $32.99 pb, 306 pp

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