We’re delighted to be on the HQ tour today sharing Elena’s thoughts about Homecoming by Luan Goldie.
Homecoming by Luan Goldie is available to purchase in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats.
For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.
Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.
Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.
When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.
Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound and moving story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, opening yourself up to the exquisite pain and pleasure of love, and of what happens when three lost souls, all bound by one person, come together and finally share their truths.
After having met at university Emma and Yvonne quickly become best friends and they do everything together. Emma is carefree, irresponsible and careless whereas Yvonne is the sensible one. Emma’s parents are expats living in Kenya where she grew up. On the day of their graduation Emma reveals she is pregnant by Lewis, a man who Yvonne has had a one-night stand with (unbeknownst to Emma). The secret that Yvonne then keeps from Emma is one that haunts her for years and the guilt she feels as a result of her relationship with Lewis threatens to destroy their friendship and trust.
The story jumps from between the early 00s and the present day. In the present day Kiama, Emma’s son who she has raised alone and partly in Kenya, is desperate to revisit Kenya to try and relive memories of his mother and of his time there and asks Yvonne to go with him. Yvonne is reluctant but agrees to go, fuelled by her guilt and as their trip progresses the secrets she has been keeping from Kiama threaten to come to the surface and destroy her relationship with him.
This is the story of female friendship, the intense kind that begins at university and has the potential to last a lifetime. I found myself comparing their friendship with my own from my student days, helped by the fact that I am the same age that Emma and Yvonne are and that we were at university at the same time so I found myself smiling in recognition at many of the references of the time. I loved the dynamic and the ebb and flow of their friendship. It is apparent that the two best friends love each other fiercely.
I found it difficult to warm to Yvonne, she is often judgemental and prickly whereas Emma is the total opposite. Kiama is young, naive and is experiencing a lot of pain and I felt sorry for him having endured the heartache he has at such a young age. I especially loved everything about the time they spent in Kenya, in particular the characters they met there and the richness and beauty of the descriptions of the country.
Homecoming is a beautiful, evocative and heartbreaking book which I thoroughly enjoyed and wholeheartedly recommend. It has left me wanting to read more by the author.
Luan Goldie is a Glasgow born author and primary school teacher who grew up in East London.
Her debut novel Nightingale Point was longlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. It was also a BBC Radio 2 Jo Whiley Book Club Pick.
Her short stories have appeared in Resist: Stories of Uprising and The Good Journal. She is also the winner of the 2017 Costa Short Story Award.
Her second novel Homecoming will be released by HarperCollins in 2020.
Twitter and Instagram : @LuanGoldie