Christmas at The Homesick Hotel

Cover of HomesickI check in to The Homesick Hotel every Christmas. And I am not alone.

My yearning for family, always subtly present, reaches a crescendo on Christmas Day itself: one red candle in front of my annually diminishing array of Christmas cards, a shtonking great bird in the middle of the table, two Christmas crackers, two paper hats, one nervous looking husband and a glass of champagne. There will be tears.

And you don’t have to be a migrant for homesickness to strike. In Christchurch there are folk homesick for Christmases that took place just down the road in the Red Zone, where they used to live. There are parents longing for Christmases that took place right where they are now, before the kids all left. Then there are those with  no homes and no families at all.

You are all welcome at The Homesick Hotel.

I check in with a full book bag (and if you haven’t yet got one of those, slap it on your Christmas list right now). Here’s what’s in my bag this year:

  • Homesick – a book of linked short stories by Roshi Fernando, an award-winning Sri Lankan writer living in London. The namesake story introduces thirty four characters (most with Sri Lankan names) in the first eighteen pages. I need to read the rest of the book to unravel what is going on.
  • The Goldfinch – I loved Donna Tartt‘s book The Secret History. This new novel is about an abandoned boy, a small painting and the art underworld – that should cheer me up!
  • A House Somewhere – this is an old favourite – a collection of excellent essays on living abroad, written by great writers like Isabelle Allende and William Dalrymple.
  • The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons, because it is about Art, Love, the Sixties and has a great title!

Back in 1977, The Eagles said of Hotel California:

You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave

It’s the same at The Homesick Hotel, but reading does help. A lot. So, what will you pack in your book bag this festive season?

5 thoughts on “Christmas at The Homesick Hotel

  1. Gallivanta 18 December 2013 / 3:31 pm

    Ah, yes ,Homesick Hotel. It’s a wonder there’s anyone room in that Inn? Your book solution is a good one.

  2. Robyn 18 December 2013 / 5:26 pm

    I have belatedly realised that one of my all-time favourite series, The Cazalet Chronicle by Elizabeth Jane Howard, has a latest installment. It’s the fifth book in the series so my holidays will be devoted to re-reading the first books, something I’ve done each time a new one comes out.

  3. robertafsmith 18 December 2013 / 5:35 pm

    I am always so impressed by re-readers. Dipping into A House Somewhere again is about as close as I come. I haven’t read The Cazalet Chronicle, although I love Elizabeth Jane Howard. There are gaps. They must be filled!

  4. Anne Schauffer 18 December 2013 / 7:15 pm

    Lovely Roberta. I think as we get older, the Homesick Hotel is increasingly a place we return to for a host of reasons, but a bag of books is as good a homesick pill as there is. Donna Tart is on my bedside table, beckoning beckoning.

  5. Robyn 19 December 2013 / 1:24 pm

    Obey Donna Tartt’s blandishments Anne – you won’t regret it.

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