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Lynn Freed’s deeply personal essays explore our most quintessential question: What makes a home? From very early on she had imagined for herself an ideal life: a stranger in a strange place: someone just arrived, just about to leave, and always with a home to return to. As a teenager on an exchange program to the U.S., she had made up fantastic reasons to escape high school in the suburbs and spend her time in New York City. Accepting a marriage proposal as a young woman, partly because it promised just such a life away from South Africa, where she’d grown up, and in New York as a graduate student she found herself both restless and unmoored. At home neither in the place nor in the marriage.
What she did find, in the end, was a true marriage between writing and travel, travel and identity. Traversing decades and continents and back again, The Romance of Elsewhere captures the dilemma of the expat and does so with Freed’s signature honesty and humor. She takes on subjects as disparate as Disneyland, lovers, eco-tourism, shopping, serious illness, and the anomaly of writers who blossom into full power only in old age. Lynn has been publishing these pieces for the past three decades, and this new collection further establishes her as a renowned voice in memoir and the exploration of identity.
Lynn Freed grew up in South Africa, before moving to New York and receiving her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from Columbia. She has published eight books, and her short stories and essays have been published widely in such places as Harper’s, O, The New Yorker, Tin House, and The Atlantic. She is the recipient of a 2011 PEN/O. Henry Award and was awarded the inaugural Katherine Anne Porter Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is currently the Professor Emerita of English at the University of California in Davis.