We navigate our interactions with strangers according to a host of unwritten rules, rituals and (sometimes awkward) attempts at politeness. But what if the people we meet were not a problem, but a gift?
When philosopher and traveller Will Buckingham’s partner died, he sought solace in throwing open the door to new people. Now, as we reflect on our experiences of the pandemic and its enforced separations, and as global migration figures ever more prominently in our collective future, Buckingham brings together insights from philosophy, anthropology, history and literature to explore how our traditions of meeting the other can mitigate the issues of our time. How do we set aside our instinctive xenophobia – fear of outsiders – and embrace our equally natural philoxenia – love of strangers and newness?
Taking in stories of loneliness, exile and friendship from classical times to the modern day, and alighting in adapting communities from Myanmar to Birmingham, Hello, Stranger offers an endlessly curious, uplifting and powerful antidote to our increasingly atomised world.
'A glorious book, fabulously learned and funny, and filled with all manner of stirring stories' Philip Marsden, author of The Summer Isles