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A Long Way Home
Cover of A Long Way Home
A Long Way Home
A Memoir
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First it was a media sensation. Then it became the #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney...
First it was a media sensation. Then it became the #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney...
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  • First it was a media sensation. Then it became the #1 international bestseller A Long Way Home. Now it's Lion, the major motion picture starring Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and Rooney Mara—nominated for six Academy Awards!

    This is the miraculous and triumphant story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who used Google Earth to rediscover his childhood life and home in an incredible journey from India to Australia and back again...

    At only five years old, Saroo Brierley got lost on a train in India. Unable to read or write or recall the name of his hometown or even his own last name, he survived alone for weeks on the rough streets of Calcutta before ultimately being transferred to an agency and adopted by a couple in Australia.
    Despite his gratitude, Brierley always wondered about his origins. Eventually, with the advent of Google Earth, he had the opportunity to look for the needle in a haystack he once called home, and pore over satellite images for landmarks he might recognize or mathematical equations that might further narrow down the labyrinthine map of India. One day, after years of searching, he miraculously found what he was looking for and set off to find his family.

    A Long Way Home
    is a moving, poignant, and inspirational true story of survival and triumph against incredible odds. It celebrates the importance of never letting go of what drives the human spirit: hope.

Excerpts-

  • From the book 1.

    Remembering

    When I was growing up in Hobart, I had a map of India on my bedroom wall. My mum—my adoptive mother—had put it there to help me feel at home when I arrived from that country at the age of six to live with them in 1987. She had to teach me what the map represented—I was completely uneducated. I didn't even know what a map was, let alone the shape of India.

    Mum had decorated the house with Indian objects—there were some Hindu statues, brass ornaments and bells, and lots of little elephant figurines. I didn't know then that these weren't normal objects to have in an Australian house. She had also put some Indian printed fabric in my room, across the dresser, and a carved wooden puppet in a brightly colored outfit. All these things seemed sort of familiar, even if I hadn't seen anything exactly like them before. Another adoptive parent might have made the decision that I was young enough to start my life in Australia with a clean slate and could be brought up without much reference to where I'd come from. But my skin color would always have given away my origins, and anyway, she and my father chose to adopt a child from India for a reason, as I will go into later.

    The map's hundreds of place-names swam before me throughout my childhood. Long before I could read them, I knew that the immense V of the Indian subcontinent was a place teeming with cities and towns, with deserts and mountains, rivers and forests—the Ganges, the Himalayas, tigers, gods!—and it came to fascinate me. I would stare up at the map, lost in the thought that somewhere among all those names was the place I had come from, the place of my birth. I knew it was called "Ginestlay," but whether that was the name of a city, or a town, or a village, or maybe even a street—and where to start looking for it on that map—I had no idea.

    I didn't know for certain how old I was, either. Although official documents showed my birthday as May 22, 1981, the year had been estimated by Indian authorities, and the date in May was the day I had arrived at the orphanage from which I had been offered up for adoption. An uneducated, confused boy, I hadn't been able to explain much about who I was or where I'd come from.

    At first, Mum and Dad didn't know how I'd become lost. All they knew—all anyone knew—was that I'd been picked off the streets of Calcutta, as it was still known then, and after attempts to find my family had failed, I had been put in the orphanage. Happily for all of us, I was adopted by the Brierleys. So to start with, Mum and Dad would point to Calcutta on my map and tell me that's where I came from—but in fact the first time I ever heard the name of that city was when they said it. It wasn't until about a year after I arrived, once I'd made some headway with English, that I was able to explain that I didn't come from Calcutta at all—a train had taken me there from a train station near "Ginestlay." That station might have been called something like "Bramapour," "Berampur" . . . I wasn't sure. All I knew was that it was a long way from Calcutta, and no one had been able to help me find it.

    Of course, when I first arrived in Australia, the emphasis was on the future, not the past. I was being introduced to a new life in a very different world from the one I'd been born into, and my new mum and dad were putting a lot of effort into facing the challenges that experience brought. Mum didn't worry too much about my learning English immediately, since she knew it would come through day-to-day use. Rather than trying to rush me into it, she thought it was far more important at the outset to...

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A Memoir
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