By Arleen Williams
Genre: Literary Fiction
Walking Home is a compelling glimpse into the lives of emigrés in modern day America–refugees from genocide and war. The book journeys from loss and grief to survival and joy. The story hits the ground running, literally, with Kidane’s escape from Africa that reaches far into his future into Seattle, Washington. Kidane battles with survivor guilt while he struggles to settle into Seattle, a new life, relationship, school and work. He wants the American dream but is haunted by the past where he survived horrific violence in Africa, and was forced to leave everything and everyone he loved, behind.
Beautifully written, this poignant and intimate portrait of survivors is a must read for anyone seeking to understand the lives of emigrants in our evolving communities.
This is a story that is close to my heart, for a number of reasons. The story takes place around the lives of two immigrants to the pacific northwest from Eritrea / Ethiopia. One is Moslem, the other, Christian. They both find themselves at a crossroads in their new lives in Seattle separately and together. The richness of the descriptions of their homelands, their tragedies, and their lost families is complex, beautiful, and sad. Despite these losses, they look positively to the futures that they have created and are creating in this new, completely foreign frontier. I love the history in this book, as the African region that our key characters hail from is one of the oldest in the world. And how Gemi & Kidane look at and embrace the new worlds that they find themselves in just keeps you wanting to continually get back to their lives! This is a world class read, and I am anticipating many more fine books by Arleen Williams. Easily, five stars!
Arleen Williams is a Seattle novelist, memoirist, and co-author of a dozen short books in easy English for adults. She teaches English as a Second Language at South Seattle College and has worked with immigrants and refugees for close to three decades. Arleen lives, cycles, and writes in Seattle.
Walking Home (Booktrope 2015) is the third book in The Alki Trilogy--all set in Seattle. The first book was Running Secrets (Booktrope 2013) and the second was Biking Uphill (2014).