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I wanted my characters in An Unsafe Haven to experience their exile in the same way. A Syrian artist unable to accept the worsening situation back home is determined to return to Damascus.

Exiles by Ron Hansen

An American married to a Lebanese woman struggles to adapt to a society he does not wholly understand. An Iraqi aid worker seeks refuge in Beirut but dreams of going to the west. A Syrian refugee loses track of her family while fleeing the war and is prepared to do anything to rejoin them.

Hannah, a journalist, returns to Lebanon after a long exile, no longer certain if she will ever recapture the sense of belonging that Beirut once awarded her. These characters are not always sure what is missing from their lives, but they helped me understand that home can have different meanings for those of us who, at one time or another, are deprived of it.

Book Reviews: Editor’s selection – Expat writers, Syrian refugees and exiles

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The possibility that one can feel doubly exiled is at the centre of this novel. Artist, writer, performer and publisher, Ghoussoub left Lebanon in after being injured while volunteering with an ambulance service during the civil war. Showcasing her musings on politics, war, exile and the arts, on Lebanon and the despair of its people, this collection is testament to a woman whose perspective was always led by her compassion and humour, by an enduring sense of wonder that makes her observations of people in the Middle East and Europe intensely valuable.

This is a haunting depiction of what it means to reinvent oneself and permanently suffer the loss of belonging. While Isabel, a spirited, outspoken and innocent young heiress, can never be tainted by European decadence, Osmond is portrayed as the personification of old-world guile, cynicism and self-interest.

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Realising the truth about Osmond only after they are married, Isabel nonetheless remains true to character and chooses to honour her commitment to him. The desolation she consequently feels is not merely at being away from home, but is in the absence in her life of love and ultimately of any meaning. My favourite James novel.


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Snow by Orhan Pamuk translated by Maureen Freely Great writers perfectly mirror the historical concerns of nations in their fiction, making Snow essential reading for anyone wishing to truly understand modern-day Turkey. Tackling religion, secularism, dissent and women in Islam, this intensely beautiful novel is also a story of love and sacrifice.

The poet Ka returns to a virtually unrecognisable Istanbul after 12 years as a political exile in Germany, and decides to travel to the remote city of Kars to try to recapture memories of the Turkey he once knew.

While investigating the rise of Islamic extremism and the bafflingly high suicide rates among young women there, he encounters a long-lost love and discovers that the notion of home he had harboured was illusory. Bond Works originally published in Blue Book magazine Science fiction novel stubs s novel stubs. Hidden categories: All stub articles. Namespaces Article Talk.

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The Exiles: Book 1

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