We all tell stories to explain and confirm who we are. In Dream Land I told stories that are not my own; they belong to the Crimean Tatars and define this group of people who were deprived of a homeland, a language and an identity for fifty years.
For that reason, I was very nervous about getting Dream Land right. I wanted to make the experiences of Safi and the other characters in the book accessible to anyone who has moved to a new strange place, who has felt unwanted, who has wondered about where they are truly at home and learned the hard way how to grow beyond their family and into the wider world. But I also wanted the characters and events to be recognisable to the Crimean Tatars themselves and to be true to this remarkable and inspiring group of people.
So I was really pleased to get this review from someone who knows a great deal about the history and present situation in Crimea. Be warned, it gives away rather a lot of the plot though. And I’m not sure about the Anne Frank analogy – as I’ve said, Safi’s story is not my own, however closely I identified with her when I was writing the book, or how strongly I feel about the Crimean Tatar cause and the questions of homeland and belonging that are so important not only to the Tatars but to all of us.