Latest Issue

Migration fiction moves on

The last half century has seen long-distance migration shift from an exceptional to a normal aspect of global life. As Eva Hoffman's latest novel shows, this new migration is a realm of more subtle traumas and dislocations than the old, yet it remains an impetus for enduring art

By Emran Mian   August 2008

Discuss this article at First Drafts, Prospect’s blog

Illuminations by Eva Hoffman (Harvill Secker, £16.99)

Eva Hoffman’s memoir of migration, Lost in Translation, first published in 1989, begins aboard a ship leaving Poland 30 years earlier. “We can’t be leaving all this behind,” writes Hoffman in her dismay, “but we are.” Looking ahead, she describes “an erasure, of the imagination, as if a camera eye has snapped shut.” Her family is moving to Canada, a place of which Hoffman knows nothing more than “vague outlines, a sense of vast spaces and little habitation.”

By contrast, Isabel, the protagonist…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect