Arts Campus News

Memoir explores meaning of home, family

Uprooting ourselves and putting down roots elsewhere has become second nature. Americans are among the most mobile people on the planet, moving an average of nine times in adulthood.

Mobile Home explores one family’s extreme and often international version of this common experience. Inspired by Megan Harlan’s childhood during which she lived in 17 homes across four continents, ranging in location from the Alaskan tundra to a Colombian jungle, a posh flat in London to a doublewide trailer near the Arabian Gulf. Mobile Home maps the emotional structures and metaphysical geographies of home.

In 10 interconnected essays, Harlan examines cultural histories including Bedouin nomadic traditions and modern life in wheeled mobile homes, the psychology of motels and suburban tract housing, and the lived meanings within the built landscapes of Manhattan, Stonehenge, and the Winchester Mystery House.

More personally, she traces the family histories that drove her parents to seek so many new horizons and how those places shaped her upbringing. These familial experiences color Harlan’s current journey as a mother attempting to shape a flourishing, rooted world for her son. Her memoir explores the flexible, inventive natures of place, family and home.