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Travellers by Helon Habila

Helon Habila's Travellers is more like a collection of short stories than a novel - it's divided into 'books' and each one tells a story that more or less makes sense on its own. But there are recurring characters and the stories link together, the characters passing each other fleetingly as they travel through Europe. The book opens with an unnamed Nigerian academic who has come to Berlin with his American wife, Gina. Gina is working on an art project painting portraits of migrants and this is how we meet Mark. Originally from Malawi, has outstayed his student visa and is living in a squat with his anarchist friends, although he seems to the only one of the squatters who doesn't have middle-class parents and a home he could go to. What's unclear is why Mark can't go back to Malawi in the first place. Why is he so terrified of being sent back?  It's through Mark that we're introduced to life in migrant detention centres and from that point on, we me

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