From returning to Ethiopia to find it wasn’t as her memory had left it, to the Australian Army and Bible school, and culminating in an 800-kilometre trek through the Camino, Alie Benge writes of searching and longing for a sense of place – whatever that may be.
'If home is love, can you have a home and yet be lonely? If you’re lonely, are you in some way away from home?'
These nineteen stories are a pilgrimage: a journey of escaping the cycle of displacement, the constant burden of choice, navigating relationships and love, and coming to terms with separation. Benge unravels the elusive idea of belonging in a deeply nomadic account of what it means to find your way home.
'Ithaca is a series of meditations on the big quests in our lives. Alie Benge’s unquavering voice guides us through her discoveries with a singular and compelling perspective.' —Rose Lu, author of All Who Live on Islands
'Alie Benge’s essays are jumper cables. In each essay another circuit closes, bringing a jolt of understanding – and heart-stopping, heart-starting wonder.' —Elizabeth Knox, author of The Absolute Book
Alie Benge was born in Auckland in 1989. She spent her early childhood in Ethiopia with her Christian missionary family, and from 1999 to 2012 lived in Australia, where she served in the army. Alie won the Landfall Essay Competition in 2017, and in 2018 gained an MA in Creative Writing from the Institute of Modern Letters at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. Her work has been published in The Spinoff, Takahē Turbine | Kapohau and elsewhere. Ithaca is her first book.
Cover: Keely O'Shannessy