A Long Way Home

by Saroo Brierley

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

A Long Way Home is Australian writer and businessman Saroo Brierley's 2013 autobiographical book about his childhood in India and eventual adoption by an Australian family.

Saroo Brierley, the author, is the narrator, protagonist, and principal character in the story. Born into poverty in India, he is adopted by an Australian family when he is six years old after he wanders off and is lost. Due to the young age at which Brierley was adopted, he does not have a cultural connection with India. In fact, early in the story, he recalls that his adoptive mother decorated their home with Indian objects but that he had no idea "these weren't normal objects to have in an Australian home." Following a long search, Brierley is ultimately able to relocate his biological family and is reunited with them.

The other major characters in the story can be divided into two groups: Brierley's adoptive family and his biological family. The former include his adoptive parents John and Sue, while the latter include his mother Kamla, and his siblings Guddu, Kallu, and Shekila.

The relationship between members of his biological family and Brierley reflect their different cultural contexts. For example, after he is reunited, his family inquires about his wife and children and are surprised he does not have any; "I suppose at this age I'd have a family, too, if I'd grown up in India," Brierley observes.

Other personalities who play roles in the story include adoption agency head Saroj Sood, and Brierley's childhood friend Asra.

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