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Literature for Lunch explores the themes of ‘Exile, Refuge, Home’

The Hemingway Literary Center in Boise State’s English department presents Literature for Lunch, the popular public reading and discussion series. This year, the series turns its focus to the meaning of “home” and questions on the diverse experiences of exile, diaspora, finding refuge, departure, return, displacement and discovery.

Book discussions take place noon-1 p.m. at the Boise Public Library (715 S. Capitol Blvd.) in the Bingham Room on the third floor. They are free and open to the public. Books are available at Rediscovered Books, which gives a 10 percent discount, and at the Boise State Bookstore in the Student Union Building, which gives a 25 percent discount.

Here’s the line-up:

Friday, Sept. 20: “A Pure Heart” by Rajia Hassib.
The differences of two Egyptian sisters, Rose and Gameela Gubran, lead them down different paths: Rose, an Egyptologist, marries an American journalist and immigrates to New York City, whereas Gameela, a devout Muslim since her teenage years, stays in Cairo where she is killed in a suicide bombing. When Rose returns to Egypt after the bombing, she sifts through the artifacts Gameela left behind and struggles to reconcile her dual identities.

Note: Hassib will visit campus and give a reading and talk at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4 at the Hemingway Center.

Friday, Oct. 11: “The Refugees” by Viet Than Nguyen
These stories voice the hopes and expectations of people making life-changing decisions to leave one country for another and the rifts in identity, loyalties, romantic relationships and family that accompany relocation. The diverse stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of migration.

Friday, Nov. 8: “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid
In an unnamed country on the brink of civil war, two young people meet – sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. When their city is transformed into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors – doors that can whisk people far away to possible refuge, but also estrangement in a new land.

Friday, Dec. 6: “The Latehomecomer” by Kao Kalia Yang
This memoir of Yang’s own story of coming to America speaks to the displaced existence of the Hmong people as a whole. She relates in vivid detail the first seven years of her life, spent in a Thai refugee camp, as a time of family and joyfulness. Despite the utter poverty and deprivation she and her family suffered as escapees, it is the creation of home in family that buoys her story.

For more information, contact English professor Cheryl Hindrichs at or (208) 901-5500.