by Helon Habila
Pub Date 18 Jun 2019
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A startlingly imaginative exploration of the African diaspora in Europe, by one of our most acclaimed international writers.
Award-winning author Helon Habila has been described as "a courageous tale teller with an uncompromising vision…a major talent" (Rawi Hage). His new novel, Travelers, is a life-changing encounter with those who have been uprooted by war or aspiration, fear or hope.
A Nigerian graduate student who has made his home in America knows what it means to strike out for new shores. When his wife proposes that he accompany her to Berlin, where she has been awarded a prestigious arts fellowship, he has his reservations: “I knew every departure is a death, every return a rebirth. Most changes happen unplanned, and they always leave a scar.”
In Berlin, Habila’s central character finds himself thrown into contact with a community of African immigrants and refugees whose lives previously seemed distant from his own, but to which he is increasingly drawn. The walls between his privileged, secure existence and the stories of these other Africans on the move soon crumble, and his sense of identity begins to dissolve as he finds that he can no longer separate himself from others’ horrors, or from Africa.
A lean, expansive, heart-rending exploration of loss and of connection, Travelers inscribes unforgettable signposts—both unsettling and luminous—marking the universal journey in pursuit of love and home.
About the Author: Helon Habila is the author of the novels, Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time, Oil on Water, and Travelers and a nonfiction book, The Chibok Girls. His writing has won numerous awards including the Caine Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Windham-Campbell Prize. He is professor of creative writing at George Mason University and lives in Virginia with his wife and three children.
A Note From the Publisher
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“Once I started reading Travelers, I couldn’t stop. It’s an unsettling book that faces the urgent questions of our times and doesn’t settle for easy answers. Yet the resilience of the characters, the mature decision to avoid melodrama, gives us a novel full of hope and wonder, tied to fully realized characters that as readers, we come to care about. I loved this book. It is indeed Habila at his best.” - Leila Aboulela, author of The Kindness of Enemies and Elsewhere, Home
“Urgent, deeply empathetic, and resisting easy answers, Travelers follows the interconnected lives of African immigrants and refugees in Europe and examines the meanings of freedom, diaspora and home. Habila is a masterful storyteller, and this novel a riveting testament to the power of fiction.” - Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers
“A moving and eye-opening novel that captures our global political moment and plumbs the many layers of life in exile, of people who are forever bereft in their 'traveling'. Helon Habila writes with the eye of a journalist, the tools of an artist, and the heart of a sober and compassionate witness.” - Vu Tran, author of Dragonfish
“At once intimate and expansive, Travelers captivated me from the very first pages.” - Aminatta Forna, author of Happiness and The Memory of Love