Home is Nearby, the debut novel of Magdalena McGuire, is a book rich with themes of love, loss, home, inspiration, freedom and truth. I closed the final pages with the deep satisfaction that comes at the end of a good book. My heart was full.
This fascinating and emotional story follows the life of Ania, a young woman sculptor living in Poland in the early 1980’s. We meet her friends and boyfriend Dominik in Wroclaw, and her beloved father back in her home village. Poland falls under martial law, and conditions become dangerous. Houses are searched by militiamen, and citizens are thrown in prison without charge.
On a personal level, Ania wrestles with her own feelings of inadequacy as an artist, and experiences jealousy towards a talented artist friend who she suspects once was intimate with Dominik.
Home is Nearby has a freshness and an originality that makes you eager to read on. The entrancing characters live vibrant lives yet also deal with fear, hardship and grief in places and circumstances that are intriguing.
Ania’s passion for her art was especially moving, and her doubts and indecision were relatable. And although this book was very much about love and where we call home, the most powerful thread for me was about our inner creative lives and finding the truth in what we create. It was an inspiring read for any artist, or in fact anyone who likes to express their creativity.
If you’ve struggled lately to find a book that excites you, one that is different and beautifully-written, I can highly recommend Home is Nearby.