This second anthology of short stories, flash fiction and poetry on the theme home is published in support of Shelter. This edition is dedicated to those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire and the foreword talks about the impact of Brexit on feelings of home especially for migrants.
Personally I feel, having talked to friends who feel similarly, that even British natives have had their sense of home pulled away by the animosity over Brexit. That feeling of safety, of thinking you know what people around you are like, has been undermined.
With that being said the stories contained within the book offer snapshots into sense of home and belonging. For me I find it difficult to read a whole book of short pieces in one sitting and so this will be a book for me to dip into in waiting rooms and spare 5 minutes.
The first entries out of 55 range from a brief snapshot of a moment of routine which captures the sense of being at home with another person (TED BONHAM – The Life This Is) to fighting systems that can prevent you finding a, or feeling at, home (MICHELE SHELDON Monsters) and the whimsical tale of, I assume a homeless woman, who shares the little she has and lets a seagull take up residence on her head ( SHARON BENNETT – Seagull).
The voice and palpable sense of longing drew me into the story of a woman returning home after a jail sentence by LEIGH FORBES (Coming Home). And I also picked out the following story, from later on in the book, to read based on its title. ISABEL COSTELLO’s A Place to Paint Yellow explores whether home is a person, a place or a feeling and what happens when those things change or are lost. Its protagonist being an obese woman also examines feeling at home in your own skin.
Shelter, the charity which Stories for Homes supports, cites three main criteria for housing: safety, stability, affordability. The UK is currently failing its citizens on every point. Volume one raised over £3,000. Buy this book to help them help others. It’s available as an e-book with bonus online content here – http://storiesforhomes.wordpress.com/.
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, said: “Stories give our imaginations a home. It’s good to see them helping to give people shelter in the real world, too…” reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it.
Here’s a 6 word story I wrote as part of a challenge last September.