In Welcome to Nowhere Elizabeth Laird tells Omar’s story. Omar is a twelve-year-old from a fairly average Syrian family who hates school and has great dreams for the future. As the novel unfolds so does the civil war and slowly, gradually life as Omar knows it begins to unravel. Elizabeth is unsurpassed in her ability to personalise stories of global catastrophe, causing her readers to empathise with, and therefore, understand the situations to a greater degree. Without ever going to extremes, she is both truthful and hopeful in her account of the struggles of Omar and his family. Based on her own experiences working in Syrian refugee camps her novel is powerful, heart-breaking and compelling. This is a book not to be missed.
That’s what I said in The Scotsman on the book’s publication and I don’t think I can better it. I certainly haven’t changed my mind about the book. If you enjoy this, you might like to read its companion piece A House Without Walls. It’s equally as insightful.