Dislocation by Lucy Lang
Published by: Moira Brown
Genres: Nonfiction, Autobiography
Date Read: 26/11/16
DISLOCATION is a fascinating memoir of a childhood spent on the move – mostly travelling between Scotland and East Africa. With an intrepid, restless father and a mother whose fragile mental state required stability, the only constant in the family’s life was a reliable Volkswagen Beetle. Yet despite constantly being uprooted Lucy Lang does not consider it an unhappy childhood.
I received a copy of Dislocation from the author for review Considerations. This in no way influences my opinion of this book.
This book is a memoir charting Lucy Lang’s early life from birth to aged eighteen in the 1960s and 70s. A moving and life-affirming memoir of a girl growing up in 1960s Africa.
Lucy was constantly on the move as her father’s work took the family to remote parts of Kenya and Tanzania at a time of political change and unrest. This is contrasted with time spent back home in Scotland in between jobs when Lucy and her sister would struggle to fit in at school and miss the vibrancy of their African life.
Lang weaves in the history of her mother but in an almost nonchalant way, not indulging in the ugliness that must have been present at certain times, but as a part of her history that she doesn’t recoil from but also very clearly describes how painful it was at times.
Their dislocation is the more painful as the constant upheaval takes its toll on their mother’s mental health and their parents’ marriage. Yet there’s an upbeat tone to the book and so much history and vivid detail of the countries and places they lived and visited.
I found this a fascinating book. This book is written with humour, honesty and affection. It cannot help but draw you into a young life full of riches and variety on the one hand and constant upheaval and worry over her mother’s mental state on the other.
At times, the writing felt a bit disjointed, jumping from different points when you already thought you’d passed that point but all in all works.
I enjoyed reading Lucy’s story, a tapestry of events woven from happiness and pain, from laughter and tears. Lucy Lang does an incredible job of documenting her families history The title ‘Dislocation’ predominantly refers to this chaotic upbringing, as well as living with a mother who was institutionalized on many occasions, unable to care for her two daughters.