Lost on the way home
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This is a novella about homelessness, and the forms of exile, loss and displacement that it creates. Based in South Africa and Palestine/Israel, it is a story about four men who all find themselves alienated and marginalised and who, in their different ways, find themselves lost in their search for a place to belong. Reuben is the primary character. Estranged from the Jewish community into which he is born, he turns his back on apartheid South Africa, expecting to find an alternative home in Israel. But when he arrives there he encounters once again the same dark side of humankind that he thought he had left behind. He is not the first of his family to be driven from a place he calls home. His grandfather, Sam, who has already passed away by the time this story takes place, experienced homelessness after Nazism forced him to flee. The novella opens at the moment when Reuben takes his son Dov to Israel as a young child. But a growing estrangement between father and son emerges over time, as Dov is fiercely loyal to Israel while Reuben becomes bitterly disillusioned. They find themselves pitted against each other politically, until the pathology of Israeli militarism drives Dov to a breakdown. Following Dov's own eventual personal escape into exile, when he decides he must dissociate himself from the Israeli Defence Force, he calls out to his father to rescue him and take him home. Finally there is Haroom, a young Israeli Palestinian whom Reuben befriends, who has his own story of rootlessness and the absence of belonging. In Lost on the Way Home, the politics of oppression, discrimination, dispossession, and violent victimisation underpins each of the four men's individual stories. And despite their differences, all share the experience of being driven from their "homes", or the communities or places from which they originated. It is through their individual relationships that they reach out to each other to find a place to share and establish an alternative to the homes they have lost. In the end it is left to Reuben and Dov to struggle to find a way of finding each other when they set off together on a desert hike with no destination and only the goal of escaping their pasts.