Women's Journeys Across Race, Place, and Time

August 1, 2007

Edited By Patricia Justine Tumang and Jenesha de Rivera (Seal Press)

As an immigrant, I've spent most of my life traveling-my first international flight was at six months. Yet, the majority of travel writing that I have read has turned my stomach. The worst was when I picked up a Rough Guide anthology of travel writing by (mostly white) women, which had stories like: "In Bhutan, Lesley Reader learns to live with leeches and fleas, to chew betel nut and cross raging rivers in a monsoon." The contributors to the Homelands anthology offer a more complicated perspective, exploring the difficult sensation of being both a tourist and a native, and discovering different ideas of "home." Editors Tumang and de Rivera capture an incredible diversity of voices-ranging from a Latvian woman returning after 47 years of exile to a Sikh woman discussing her relationship to her hair-along with a not-to-miss introduction by Edwidge Danticat. If nothing else, buy this book just to read Austin-based writer Joshunda Sanders' powerhouse essay "Urban Nomads" about how her relationship with her unstable mother affected her own sense of restlessness. -Neelanjana Banerjee