I bump into plenty of people in America who tell me that they miss their native countries – Britain, Germany, Russia, Holland, South Africa – and who in the next breath say they cannot imagine returning. It is possible, I suppose, to miss home terribly, not know what home really is anymore, and refuse to go home, all at once. Such a tangle of feelings might then be a definition of luxurious freedom…
Logically, a refusal to go home should validate, negatively, the very idea of home, rather in the way that [Edward] Said’s idea of exile validates the idea of an original ‘true home’. But perhaps the refusal to go home is consequent on the loss, or lack, of home: as if those fortunate expatriates were really saying to me: ‘I couldn’t go back home because I wouldn’t know how to anymore.’ And there is ‘Home’ and ‘a home’.
James Wood, “On Not Going Home,” London Review of Books, Vol. 36 No. 4 · 20 February 2014, pp. 3-8