Books

Top 5 books about making a new home, chosen by Anne Youngson

Meet Me at the Museum author Anna Youngson selects five books about leaving home to relocate to a new place.

A migrant woman and her children during the depression

Dorothea Lange's famous photograph, Migrant Mother, became a symbol of the Great Depression. Image: Free-images.com CC0

Home means different things to each of us. These books seek to describe what exile feels like, and how mass migration can change the course of a nation.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The powerful story of the forced migration of farmers from Oklahoma to California in the 1930s, is told through the Joad family, who survive hardship through the power of family, and by showing kindness to strangers.

July’s People by Nadine Gordimer

Gordimer imagines a breakdown in apartheid South Africa, forcing a white family to leave home and seek refuge in the village of their servant, July. With all certainties removed, relationships are redrawn.

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Border by Kapka Kassabova

The writer brings her own experience of displacement – from her home in Bulgaria to New Zealand to Scotland – to a trip along the southern border of Bulgaria, exploring how it has led to expulsions and re-settlements over the centuries, and the legacy this leaves behind.

The Offing by Benjamin Myers

After the Second World War, an enigmatic and gloriously eccentric older woman invites a teenager to live in her shed. With her help, he avoids a future down the mines.

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor

Mrs Palfrey, a widow, is passing from middle age to old age and from home to a London hotel, populated by people similarly displaced. Age does not prevent her from living life to the full, which is just as it should be. 

A Complicated Matter book cover

A Complicated Matter by Anne Youngson is out now (Transworld, £16.99)You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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