One BBC Culture reader is pining for home and resident textual healer Hephzibah Anderson has the books - from Laurie Lee to Jhumpha Lahiri - to help.
Dear Textual Healing,
About a month ago, I moved to another country for love. I am glad I took this decision, because it means my boyfriend and I can spend more time together and we can go forward with our relationship.
But at the same time I've been homesick. Sometimes the feeling is strong, and sometimes I barely notice it, but it's still there. I miss my cats, I miss the familiarity of my home town and the shops, I miss the customs, I miss my family, I miss the woods, I miss our local library... I've even stopped reading, although I used to read at least one book a week.
Can you please suggest some books that will help me feel less homesick and more at home?
Dear Pining for home,
We tend to think of homesickness as a juvenile malaise, adorable in the child on her first overnight school trip and endearing, even, in the teen calling home from university with a wobble in his voice. But by the time we edge into adulthood, we're supposed to have grown out of such whimsy.
It wasn't always so. During the 19th Century, homesickness among new immigrants to America, for instance, was considered suggestive of a virtuous or sensitive nature. As Susan J Matt explains in her 2011 book, Homesickness: An American History, the word didn't become widely used until around 1750. Before then, such feelings were termed 'nostalgia', which was actually deemed a medical condition.
Kenneth Grahame's Mole would certainly agree with that diagnosis.
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