cover image Home/Land: A Memoir of Departure and Return

Home/Land: A Memoir of Departure and Return

Rebecca Mead. Knopf, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-0-525-65871-9

New Yorker staff writer Mead (My Life in Middlemarch) recounts her experience leaving New York City for her native England in this vivid, searching memoir. She left the city with her husband and teenage son in the summer of 2018; disillusioned by the state of American politics, she felt the time was right for a change of scenery, to offer more experiences for travel to her son, and to revisit her past. Mead eloquently and thoughtfully recounts the ineffable things that create “belonging” through the chronicle of her move, paints a vivid picture of having created a home in New York, and describes experiencing “the last weeks” of her time in her Brooklyn home “like a death.” Then, after arriving in England, she learns her charismatic carpenter “until recently had had the distinction of being Britain’s longest-serving prisoner,” and recalls the tended gardens and “warm and lit and welcoming” rooms in her hometown of Weymouth as she considers what she’ll do with her childhood home after her mother’s death. Her prose is razor-sharp, and her story is deeply personal but universal in its explorations: “A relationship with a place, like a relationship with a person, is made up of many threads of connection.” The result is poignant and memorable. Agent: Kathy Robbins, the Robbins Office. (Feb.)