Recently, the concept of home is something that has been appearing a lot in what I've been reading. As part of the Literature module on my Open University course we looked at Wuthering Heights in relation to the Victorian ideals about 'the home' and in the reading that I have been doing for my writing class, home is something that has come up time and time again.
So it set me to thinking about 'home' in literature and I realised that so much of it is about people trying to find a home, return to a home they have been removed from, or longing for a distant home land they have had to leave through emigration. All of the great cities around the world have districts dedicated to the recreation of home for the immigrant groups living there and as I discovered when I went and lived in someone else's country for the first time, you naturally gravitate to social groups made up of your fellow country men and women.
Although I really enjoyed my time living in New Zealand, and it is a beautiful, unspoiled country with plenty of space for everyone, I realised that it would never be my home. I also realise how lucky I am that I could make the choice to return home when so many people can't. My course work is currently looking at Dubliners by James Joyce and the concept of the city as home and the opportunities that offered, as well as the restrictions it brought too, for the first generation of people who migrated to the big cities for work.
Next we move on to works such as The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon, which looks at the migration of West Indians to the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, and WG Sebald's The Emigrants, a meditation on foreigness told through four stories of German people the author met who had emigrated to the US and the UK. Although these books are obviously about the subject of home, I think that, without even realising it, many books are also about the longing for a home. In my novel the narrator returns to the town she grew up in, in my guest blog from Michelle Scorziello the longing for home shone through, and Dorothy stated the obvious way back before mass emigration had become the norm: "There's no place like home."