Mar 212013

Exiles see two or more places at the same time not just because they’re addicted to a lost past. There is a very real, active component to seeing in this particularly heightened retrospective manner: an exile is continuously prospecting for a future home—forever looking at an alien land as land that could conceivably become his. Except that he does not stop shopping for a home once he’s acquired one or once he’s finally divested himself of exile. He goes on prospecting, partly because he cannot have the home he remembers and partly because his new home bears no relationship to the old. Over and above these minor distinctions, however, his problem starts at home, with home. There isn’t—and, in certain cases, wasn’t—any.

[H]ow do you—indeed, can you ever—rebuild a home?

—Andre Aciman in “Shadow Cities”, in: Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language and Loss

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