Book Discussion - Travelers by Helon Habila
Helon Habila’s fourth novel has been described as “ [a] sweeping novel that gives voice to members of the African diaspora dispersed across contemporary Europe.”
A Nigerian graduate student who has made his home in America knows what it means to strike out for new shores. When his wife proposes that he accompany her to Berlin, where she has been awarded a prestigious arts fellowship, he has his reservations: “I knew every departure is a death, every return a rebirth. Most changes happen unplanned, and they always leave a scar.”
In Berlin, Habila’s central character finds himself thrown into contact with a community of African immigrants and refugees whose lives previously seemed distant from his own, but to which he is increasingly drawn. The walls between his privileged, secure existence and the stories of these other Africans on the move soon crumble, and his sense of identity begins to dissolve as he finds that he can no longer separate himself from others’ horrors, or from Africa.
In keeping with last month’s theme, let’s explore “real migration” from the perspective of six African refugees in Europe.
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