For readers of Rutger Bregman Humankind or Adam Philips' On Kindness, a timely, humane and uplifting exploration of how our history of welcoming strangers can offer a vital antidote to our increasingly atomised world.
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.
Taking in stories of loneliness, exile and friendship from classical times to the modern day, and alighting in adapting communities from Birmingham to Myanmar, Hello, Stranger asks: how do we set aside our instinctive xenophobia and embrace our equally natural philoxenia - love of strangers and newness?
"Following a personal tragedy, Will Buckingham propels himself out, alone, into the world, to explore what it means to be a stranger – the joys and pitfalls, the perennial truths. A glorious book, fabulously learned and funny, and filled with all manner of stirring stories" Philip Marsden, author of The Summer Isles
"A treasure trove of all the possibilities strangers can be to each other. Read, learn and savour." Madeleine Bunting, author of Labours of Love: The Crisis of Care