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This Is Where I Am Paperback – 14 Mar 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Paperback, 14 Mar 2013
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408832712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408832714
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 484,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

So it's surprising that this story of tentative friendship is also an unexpectedly humorous affair ... Generous-spirited, big-hearted depiction of life behind the statistics (Daily Mail)

A story of tragedy told with such eloquence and elegance as to renew our faith in the resilience of the human spirit (Kerry Young, author of Pao)

This was the best novel I read on holiday ... A brilliant story, beautifully told by Campbell (Alistair Campbell, Metro)

The writing is bold, gritty and fearless (The Sunday Times)

One of the most powerful novels I've read in a long time. Unvarnished and without sentimentality, This Is Where I Am forces us to reassess our notion of the refugee in the modern world. Like all great survival stories, Abdi Hassan's is dogged by horror and grotesque ill-fate; yet it is Abdi's quiet courage and dignity that endures in the memory long after the final page. Think you have a social conscience? Read this, weep and think again (Helen Walsh, author of Brass)

This Is Where I Am is subtle, compassionate and completely gripping. It's the best kind of page-turner, one where you race through to the end because you can't bear to abandon the characters. Wonderful (Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee)

Fans of The Other Hand will enjoy this heartbreaking yet uplifting tale which solves the heartbreaking mystery

(Bookseller)

Book Description

A tender and eye-opening novel about loss and survival, and an unlikely friendship between a Glaswegian widow and a Somali asylum seeker

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is Where I Am is a beautifully written masterpiece of storytelling. It is so vivid one can't help feeling someone should have the good sense to buy the film rights. It's page-turner about loss, guilt and hope by turns violent, gripping, devastating, uplifting, poetic and tender taking us from the hinterlands of Glasgow to the stench of refugee camps in Africa. A meeting of two fragile individuals, each on their own painful but finally redemptive journey. Five stars, without any hesitation whatsoever!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book deserves no less than 5 stars.
It is full of believable characters, the main ones being Abdi and his daughter Rebecca who arrive in Glasgow from an African Refugee Camp and Debs, recently widowed, who becomes Abdi's mentor.
I cried at some of the flashbacks to Abdi's time in the refugee camps and laughed at times at his understanding of the Scottish language and phraseology.
This is a brilliantly written strong story which makes me want to learn more about the Scottish Refugee Council.
Without a doubt my book of the year so far.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This Is Where I Am tells the stories of Deborah, a lonely Scottish woman getting over the death of her husband, and Abdi, a Somalian refugee who is allocated Deborah as his mentor (she volunteers at the Scottish Refugee Council). In alternating chapters we learn of both characters' pasts and how they give each other hope for the future.

It's a large book, but one I got through pretty quickly. The writing is excellent, and the story is moving, enlightening and ultimately uplifting. I really enjoyed reading about the contrast between Deborah's and Abdi's lives, and how having her as his mentor went some way to mending him and giving him a new life in Scotland. It's an empathetic portrayal of two people trying to get their lives back on track and it's a story of friendship and healing.

An excellent and different read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this sad but uplifting story about the power of friendship and kindness to build bridges across worlds. The writing is so sharp, and the twin narrative makes this so emotionally engaging, you feel like you are right with Abdi and Deborah on their journey. This book takes a weighty subject matter (refugees/immigration) and looks at it with a fresh perspective, all bound up in a really gripping plot. It reminded me a bit of The Other Hand by Chris Cleave, but I have to say the writing is actually more sophisticated here.

The story centres on a desolate young widow, Deborah, and a traumatised refugee, Abdi. Abdi was once a teacher, a fisherman, a provider for his wife and children, but now his family is shattered, his Somalian village destroyed, and he is living in a graffitied Glasgow tenement with his surviving 4-year-old daughter. He has a new name too: Refugee. Every month, Abdi meets Deborah, a volunteer charged with `integrating' refugees into the city through the medium of museum tours and pidgin-English small-talk. Behind her bright and breezy attitude, Deborah too is falling apart. After the death of her husband last year she feels as lost and powerless as Abdi, and gradually, they strike up an awkward friendship. Soon, childless Deborah becomes a longed-for mother figure for his little girl, and their lives become ever more entangled. For Deborah, this is the beginning of a journey of discovery that will eventually lead her to a Kenyan refugee camp, in a desperate attempt to help Abdi face his demons, and forge a future for his daughter.

This is wonderful. Highly recommended!
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By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 July 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The 2 main characters of `This Is Where I Am' are a Somali refugee, Abdi, placed in Glasgow after seeking asylum in the UK; and his mentor, Deborah, a caring volunteer with the Scottish Refugee Council. It tells a tragic tale of how Abdi and his family suffered and how he faces up to his predicament, together with the involvement of Deborah and a range of associated individuals. Chapters generally alternate between narration by Abdi or Deborah, and some chapters are preceded by information on places, events, history etc. Subject matter is serious, especially first-hand accounts by Abdi of atrocities in Somalia, Kenya etc. and by Deborah with her frustrations at the bureaucratic nature of governmental organisations and charities. However, without shirking from exposing the dark side of events and experiences, the writing is refreshing and positive, and it introduces humour amongst the stress and trauma. With flashbacks author Karen Campbell skilfully portrays iniquities and injustices, and she cleverly uses colloquial language, often Scottish, with amusing reliance on phonetics. She moves to a fairly abrupt conclusion, but this is most satisfactory, notwithstanding thought provoking insights to violence, anger, racism, mental breakdown, poverty etc. From a tragic tale readers will find hope and solace.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A masterclass in descriptive writing and characterisation, Karen Campbell's This Is Where I Am is a tour de force of empathy. Slip inside Abdi's skin and challenge yourself to think again - and again - about the life of a refugee. This powerful novel, with all its twists and turns, also made me fall in love with Glasgow. Clever! Sharon Hendry - Senior Feature Writer, The Sun.
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