Letting Fiction Take Away The Feeling of Longing: Elka Ray on How Crime Fiction Helped Cure Her Homesickness

Any fiction, any story, any narrative has the power to transport us from our current situation into a different world into which we can escape and while away the hours without realizing how much time has already passed.

For Elka Ray, crime fiction helped her not just to take her mind off of her homesickness but it also helped her connect with people and places through the stories she read and wrote. It gave her that sense of belonging, the feeling of being home.

As a kid, homesickness felt as much a part of me as blood or bone, whether a product of my nomadic childhood or inherited from my Ray ancestors, sailors and barkeeps—i.e. drunks and adventurers, obviously searching for something beyond their small English village.
Home sick. In German it’s Heimweh. Home hurt. The French describe it as a pain too. In Vietnam, where I’ve spent my entire adult life—it’s Nho nha. Miss home. Note how simple and evocative these terms are—words screamed by toddlers. This is a basic human emotion.

(Image credit: Rowan Heuvel/Unsplash)


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