Short Story #25. Homecoming (Laila Lalami)

Deal Me In Reading Challenge: I drew the nine of diamonds.

Story: Homecoming, by Laila Lalami [from The Granta Book of the African Short Story]

Comments: “Hold on,” I thought, when I checked the title listed against the nine of diamonds, “haven’t I read that story already?  Quite recently, in fact?”  But no, when I double-checked, everything was in order.  The first story I read was The Homecoming, by Namibian Milly Jafta, this is Homecoming, by Moroccan Laila Lalami.  The protagonist in this story is a young man, Aziz, who has been working for five years in Spain as an illegal immigrant, and now returns home.  His mother and his wife want him to stay, but he has not saved enough to start a business at home.  He wants his wife to return to Spain with him, but she doesn’t want to go.  And as he stays for a little while, he begins to see that in fact it wouldn’t work out… home looks different than he has remembered, he has changed, there is a new gap between him and his loved ones.  Eventually he prepares to return to Spain alone.

A thoughtful, tense, touching story.  I have this author on my list of African writers to watch out for in future.


2 thoughts on “Short Story #25. Homecoming (Laila Lalami)

  1. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 30 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  2. I’ve encountered a lot of “returning home after a long absence” stories in literature lately it seems. Just last week, the book club at etheKurt Vnnegut Memorial Library here in town met to discuss that author’s play “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” which deals with a man who returns home after eight years (in his case, he was actually presumed dead) to greatly changed circumstances. His wife was named Penelope, just as Odysseus’s wife in the Odyssey, another great story of a return home. I think it’s a fertile theme to explore and your story sounds like a nice one too.

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