An extraordinary memoir that reflects on memory and finding your voice after decades of silence.
She tells me she’s returning to every childhood home she lived in, and all the memories she can’t leave behind.
The past, she says, it kind of owns me.
I want permission to write her life while she lives it. I want to know why she is returning to the past at this stage of her life and why she can’t escape memories from decades ago. I want to know many things.
But nobody writes a nobody’s life, she says.
I want to reassure her. You’ve kept so many secrets from childhood and hidden from the world for so long, I say. And you’re not a nobody.
In this memoir, through both her words and illustrations, Janine Mikosza revisits the fourteen houses she lived in before turning eighteen. Homesickness explores how we remember, the myriad ways a child’s trauma lives on in an adult’s body, responsibility versus accountability, and the shift from silence to finding a voice. It is about finally being believed when speaking the truth, and the consequences of a decades-long silence.
‘This is an emotionally moving work that also pushes memoir forward. It asks intriguing questions about what the form can do and be, at the same time as it asks us what we can do and be for ourselves, how we can show up for ourselves both on and off the page.’
The Weekend Australian
‘Homesickness makes something from shattered history, inventively dismantling and remaking linear memoir to do so. It is a work conscious of the hope it might offer, as well as the fickle and provisional possibility of ever sharing our most painful secrets, and of what might have to be smashed for that to happen.’
The Saturday Paper
‘This transformative relationship between truth and storytelling shines through in Homesickness. Mikosza’s approach is not only brave; it is giving, and vitally important..’
‘Perhaps all memoir writing necessitates a personality split, as the author tries to wrestle the subject down. That split is made literal here, in a heartbreakingly honest rendering of both the process and the story.’
‘Brilliant. This book will be considered a masterpiece.’
Sarah Sentilles, award-winning author of Draw Your Weapons and Stranger Care
‘Mikosza’s skill as a fiction writer is clear here: not only does the narratorial device demarcate a protective boundary between self, character and reader, it also underscores the unreliability of human memory, particularly one that has been transmogrified by the blunt force of complex trauma.’
Books + Publishing
About the author
Janine Mikosza is a writer with a background in visual art and a PhD in sociology. Her essays and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Kenyon Review, Electric Literature, The Best Australian Essays, and Meanjin. She lives in Melbourne.