> Skip to content

What makes a true home? A literary detective story uncovering the past of a reclusive poet, and the tale of a mother and daughter making a new life on a remote Scottish island.

Hame, n. Scottish form of ‘home’: a valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin

In the wake of the breakdown of her relationship, Mhairi McPhail dismantles her life in New York and moves with her 9-year-old daughter, Agnes, to the remote Scottish island of Fascaray. Mhairi has been commissioned to write a biography of the late Bard of Fascaray, Grigor McWatt, a cantankerous poet with an international reputation.

But who was Grigor McWatt? Details of his past – his tough childhood and his war years as a commando – are elusive, and there is evidence of a mysterious love affair which Mhairi is determined to investigate. As she struggles to adapt to her new life, and put her own troubled past behind her, Mhairi begins to unearth the astonishing secret history of the poet regarded by many as the custodian of Fascaray’s – and Scotland’s – soul.

A dazzling, kaleidoscope of a novel, Hame layers extracts from Mhairi’s journal, Grigor’s letters and poems and his evocative writing about the island into a compelling narrative that explores identity, love and the universal quest for home.

Reviews

Bristling with life and passion and wit.

The Herald

Intricately spun… this searching and eloquent novel muses on identity, love and belonging.

Hepzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday

Richly textured… The emotional complexity of the writing matches the landscape of the island and its surroundings.

Philip Womack, Literary Review

There are joyful winks and allusions everywhere... an affectionate rebuke to Scots nationalists who pretend that questions of national identity are straightforward... 'hame' isn't so much where you're born, as where you hing yer bunnet'

Sam Kitchener, Daily Telegraph

Real historical figures interact with the fictional ones, blurring the book’s boundaries. It’s an immersive world, from smoky pubs in 1960s Edinburgh, filled with arguing poets, to the lovely descriptions of the island of Fascaray... Settle in your own home and explore.

Emerald Street

Hame treads a line between light-hearted satire and a discussion on notions of home and belonging… A hugely entertaining, roller-coaster of a ride through poetry and language

Liam Carson, The Irish Times

Ultimately, Hame is a novel about identity; both with specific regard to Scottish character and nationalism and to broader questions of how we attach ourselves to people over place, or vice versa, and of how we construct our personal life stories.

Will Gore, Evening Standard

A remarkable performance.

Allan Massie, Scotsman

Exploration of the idea that identity is a creative construct, not just the product of geography, but the imagination.

Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

Hame is a sweet and quaint novel, full of just-in-time revelations and obvious fondness.

Stuart Kelly, Guardian

Hame is an ambitious and multi-layered tome… McAfee’s attention to detail is remarkable. She covers great swathes of history and goes to enormous lengths to flesh out even minor characters… McAfee’s deadpan humour means much of the book is wryly amusing.

Dani Garavelli, The Herald

In this long but light-hearted novel about the conflicting needs of solitude and belonging, people seek out, flee from or create their homes… Hame is transportive and immersive.

Jonathan McAloon, Financial Times

If Hame often comes over like a more cheerful version of a Sarah Moss novel, it’s also sneakily political at a time when a hard Brexit dangles the prospect of a Great British break-up… Be careful what you wish for – or at least how you wish for it – seems to be the message; but while Hame’s pivotal revelation first lands with the force of a raspberry blown in the face of nationalism, it’s typical of the novel’s generosity that it finally feels like more of a kiss.

Anthony Cummins, Observer

A clever patchwork blanket of narratives… It’s very convincing, despite being entirely fictional.

UK Press Syndication

Gorgeous

Samantha Irby, Marie Claire US

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781911215813

    February 15, 2017

    Harvill Secker

    592 pages

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781911215325

    February 15, 2017

    Harvill Secker

    592 pages

    RRP $49.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Annalena McAfee

The Spoiler
All The Way To The Stars

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Best Laid Plans
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Fool Me Once
Private Delhi
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Voyager
Swing Time
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Girls
The Mistress
The Bone Collection
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
Colombiano
The Trip of a Lifetime