Home is a place called nowhere ISBN: 9780192719140
Published by O.U.P., 2002
Amina has run away from home. She ends up in London in a deserted house with Paul, an older English boy who also has run away. Gradually we learn more about Amina. She is an illegal immigrant, having been looked after by 'Auntie Vic' for seven years in somewhat mysterious circumstances. Two of Auntie Vic's children have been kind and supportive, but the eldest, James, is a bully. It is because she has stabbed James in the arm that she has run away. Amina knows nothing about her real mother, but is desperate to find her. The story is told very much from the viewpoint of refugees, who find the State uncaring. In a surreal scene in the basement of a remote derelict house, Amina meets Mama Luminata and hears the terrible stories of other refugee children. Paul convinces Amina that she must go back to Auntie Vic, who does love her. In a somewhat contrived ending, Auntie Vic is able to help her find her Palestinian mother, now living in a detention centre. It is unclear at the end whether they will be allowed to stay. The tone of this book is unusual, almost fey, but the stories of the refugees ring very true. Moving.