Leila Aboulela is a Sudanese writer living in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was born in Cairo, grew up in Khartoum and moved to Scotland in the 1990s. Her books often deal with the experience of being ‘an outsider’, an immigrant and she also frequently touches on the subject of religion: Islam and what it means to be a devoted Muslim woman in today’s world.
Elsewhere, Home is a collection of vignettes about immigration, loss, alienation, crossing different cultures, what it means to be ‘third culture’ child. Those stories explore human relationships with a great deal of empathy. They offer a very nuanced, complex picture of immigration. This collection evolves around immigration in the UK, with a special focus on Scotland. We meet a variety of characters from different social backgrounds across all age groups, mainly coming from East Africa and Middle East.
It is an interesting and compelling read, especially for people living in the UK. The topic of immigration and assimilation is not often discussed and it is only a part of public discourse if something happens that provokes debate. I wish there were more conversations about immigrants and more empathy towards newcomers, especially the ones coming from the less privileged backgrounds.
Elsewhere, Home is a thought provoking book and I highly recommend it to those who wish to have a glimpse into what it takes to build a new life in a foreign land.
I encourage everyone to read Leila Aboulela’s books as she is an unbelievably skilled and sensitive writer.