47 Houses on the Long Journey Home is a big story; a story of love and adventure spanning decades and continents. Two young people set out on a search that takes them from America's midwest to Hong Kong's Suzy Wong area, from life as sheltered expats to living in an old fishing village on the South China Sea and aboard an ocean-going junk in a typhoon shelter, speaking Chinese.
Why? Not even they seem to know. Deeper than the apparent reasons there is a keen longing to delve into life, to find that basic root of what it means to be human. The De Prees and their four children always plan to come back to a li le town in the US - soon...and a fter twenty years in Hong Kong and ten years in the Middle East, gaining new understandings of culture and art, they finally make it. On a chance trip to the mountains of North Carolina they fall in love with a big blue mountain, a creek, and a whole community of artists, singers and warm-hearted people - And house number 47, which finally becomes home.
Lenore De Pree comes from strong Dutch stock in Chicago, was raised in the back hills of Appalachian Kentucky where her parents took in 90 home children, and has been trying to tie worlds together ever since.
Now that her worlds include Chinese and Arabian cultures, the scope has expanded. De Pree alternates between writing and oil painting, searching between colors and words to express a deep-felt response to life.
She has published books in New York and in the midwest. Life now consists of working with husband Gordon in an art gallery in West Jefferson, North Carolina, high up in the Blue Ridge mountains- and enjoying their grown children and grandchildren.
Juliana Starosolska was taken by the Stalinists from her parents' home in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and deported in a sealed boxcar to a distant and primitive outpost in Siberian Kazakhstan. In "Woman in Exile, " she records her ordeals in a series of vignettes that capture the horrific, the humane, and even the occasionally humorous aspects of her experience. Her father was arrested by the Stalinists and sent to a forced labor camp deep in Russian Siberia, where he died than two years later. In the spring of 1940, the rest of his family, who had remained behind in Ukraine-Juliana; her frail mother, Daria; and her brother, Ihor-were forcibly deported by the Soviet government. They were forced to live and work under the most brutally primitive and backbreaking conditions. After the death of her mother and the reassignment of her brother to a different part of Kazakhstan, Juliana found herself alone. When World War II ended, as a former Polish citizen, Juliana was allowed to leave Kazakhstan for Poland in 1946. She immigrated to the United States in 1967, where she resumed her journalistic and literary career. Now she tells the story of those difficult years-of her time as a "Woman in Exile."
In 1886 a 19 year-old journalist disguised himself as a tramp and visited the worst lodging houses of London to 'see things as they really are.' Dottings of a Dosser is an account of his experiences and an attempt to come up with a solution. Howard Joseph Goldsmid (1866-1895) warned that if something was not done to improve the situation of the poorest in society then the country might end up confronting a revolution.
Two years later 'Jack the Ripper' murdered five prostitutes in Whitechapel and Spitalfields. His victims were mostly middle-aged women who lived in the similar common lodging houses to those that Goldsmid described. They were people 'who have neither house nor room that they can call their own, and who night after night, week in, week out, for many a weary year, ''doss'' in the nearest lodging-house, and hardly dare to dream of any other or better accommodation.
While they live their principal care is to find the necessary fourpence each night, together with a few coppers more for food, or at all events for drink. When they die they depend upon the kindly feeling of their chums and fellow-dossers for the means of burial, or upon the scantier, if more certain, mercy of the parish sexton and the workhouse hearse.' 'Are you prepared, reader, to meet such company? If so, come with me round some of the places I have visited. You will have the advantage that, while my tour was made in the flesh, yours may be completed in the spirit. And much is to be learned from such an expedition, even if made only in imagination, by those who have but very dimly realized the fact that there are dens of misery unutterable, and of vice indescribable, in some quarters of this wealth-teeming, yet poverty-producing, metropolis.'
On the run from Venn, Reyn and Seph delve deeper into the enemy stronghold and make a shocking discovery.