Homecoming is one of those funny smashup-sounding words that English is full of — a weird Saxon two-parter people made up because they needed to describe something ineffable but important to the human experience. And homecoming is an old human experience; the Greeks had a word for it — nostos, which is where we get "nostalgia."
Emily Wylie writes and teaches in New York City. When she has a homecoming, she takes the A train.
Of course, for many, coming home isn't nostalgic — it's more like combat than like sinking into a warm bath. Whatever the experience, homecoming is always loaded with emotion, and authors can't get enough of talking about prodigal sons and daughters returning to the fold. Here are some of my favorite homecoming stories.