Since [Eden], is there anyone who does not—in some way, on some level—feel that they are in exile? We feel ejected from our first homes and landscapes, from childhood, from our first family romance, from our authentic self. We feel there is an ideal sense of belonging, of community, of attunement with others and at-homeness with ourselves, that keeps eluding us. The tree of life is barred to us by a flaming sword, turning this way and that to confound us and make the task of approaching it harder.
One one level, exile is a universal experience.
—Eva Hoffman in “The New Nomads”, in: Letters of Transit: Reflections on Exile, Identity, Language and Loss, Andre Aciman, ed.