Eritrean-Ethiopian author Saleh Addonia, brother of novelist Sulaiman Addonia, has published his debut short story collection. The collection, titled The Feeling House, was published on May 5 by Holland House Books. The Feeling House includes 11 short stories inspired by Saleh’s childhood and life experiences as an Eritrean refugee.
Saleh was born to an Eritrean mother and an Ethiopian father. He and his family survived the Om Hajar massacre and escaped to a refugee camp in Sudan. At the camp and at only 12 years old, he lost his hearing. At eighteen he arrived in the UK and began trying to build a life for himself.
Saleh was awarded the 2021 Royal Society of Literature’s (RSL) Literature Matters Prize to write the book. The RSL Literature Matters Awards aim to enable literary excellence and innovation. In a short announcement of the award on Youtube, Saleh shares that through this book, he wanted to
…create a collection of short stories that mostly focus on time. Trying to come to terms with memories and elements of the past. Touching on themes of remembering and forgetting, exile and alienation, loss of home and hearing.
The Feeling House explores a variety of themes such as fundamentalism, alienation, displacement, and the refugee experience. The collection draws from Saleh’s personal life. For example, the story titled “The Gift” describes the immediate aftermaths of discovering he is deaf and learning to read. “She is Another Country” is about the experience of seeking a new home country after being denied asylum.
The Feeling House taps into the human experience from the perspective of a variety of intersecting identities. Those who are interested in stories about growing up, displacement, alienation, relationships (of all kinds), and memory should read this.
Buy The Feeling House: Holland House Books