AmserGartref BookTrust Cymru 27/04/20
Thoughtful, melancholic, haunting, Homesick is a collection of interlinked stories which muse on growing up, fitting in and the ephemeral nature of human life.
Set among the Sri Lankan community in London, Homesick begins in 1982, when family and friends are gathering to see in the New Year. From this painfully hopeful beginning, Fernando follows these characters as they grow and change in the subsequent years, through first love, marriage, home-making, loss, death. Though there is much sorrow amid these stories - the woman who loses the love of her life to cancer, the girl who enters a loveless marriage, the man who has suffered years of unhappiness after denying his true sexuality - there are also flickers of hope, not least in the touching story of an elderly lady and a teenage boy, both lost souls, who find friendship in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Fernando positions these sorrows and hopes as part of the second generation British-Sri Lankan experience; the negotiations of a life lived with one foot in Britain and one in Sri Lanka, feeling truly at home in neither. But to me, the stories she tells are universal. The awkwardness of growing up, the identity crises of youth and the tentative, often misplaced steps taken through life are experienced by everyone, meaning this collection of stories resonates with us all.