Turtles Are Animals That Move With Their Homes, by Halina Duraj-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

Turtles Are Animals That Move With Their Homes, by Halina Duraj

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Halina Duraj
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Prose, chapbook, 44 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

Turtles Are Animals That Move With Their Homes is a series of lyrical postcards capturing the weird, whimsical, and always unexpected moments encountered during travel. It’s also a celebration of friendship and a paean to the kind of “travel buddy” who makes a journey’s inevitable frustrations more bearable—even funny—and its most memorable moments more vivid. These snapshots follow two friends—one oriented toward language, the other toward the natural world—as they consider landscapes, meet strangers, wander cemeteries, and eat cheese throughout Europe. An unconventional and deeply personal travel album, it crystallizes in language the moments that resist capture by any other means: the Portuguese taxi driver who spills his life story between airport and hotel, the scandalously expensive stale donut at a French museum cafe, the silly games friends invent while waiting for their rotisserie chicken to finish roasting inside an Italian meat truck, and the kind of deep knowledge friends acquire about one another through travel that they’d perhaps never learn any other way.

Ultimately, these vignettes point to a traveler’s circular journey: even if we travel with a friend, we must leave home with ourselves and must always return to ourselves. In between, travel offers the seductive promise of letting us become—temporarily—someone other than we are.

Halina Duraj’s writing has appeared in The Harvard Review, The Sun, Ecotone, and the 2014 PEN/O. Henry Prize anthology. Her debut story collection, The Family Cannon, was published by Augury Books and was a finalist for a Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Debut Fiction Award. She teaches literature and writing at the University of San Diego.