I Don't Want to Talk About Home

I Don't Want to Talk About Home

A migrant’s search for belonging


'I carry my troubled homeland within me; I hide it like a crime.'

Growing up in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia, Suad Aldarra felt stifled. The daughter of Syrian parents, she railed against the extreme strictures placed on women in Saudi society at the time and the rising prejudice her family faced as migrants. When the opportunity arose to study software engineering at Damascus University, she jumped at the chance to move to the city she loved for a degree of freedom she'd never known.

But when the war started, everything changed. Suddenly Suad and her new husband Housam were thrown into a world of relentless pressure, desperately looking for a way out. Suad's degree in engineering was the saving grace that allowed her to travel to Ireland on a working visa. Yet reaching safety came at a price...

I Don't Want to Talk About Home is not a memoir about war and destruction. It's not about camps or boats. It's about the enduring love for a home that ceased to exist and how to build a life out of the rubble. With great warmth and insight, Suad writes about those left behind paper borders, the sacrifices made, and the parts of yourself you lose and find when integrating into a new world.


  • Powerful, fascinating and deeply moving - this book pushes aside our lazy images of human migration and refugees. I loved it.
    Roddy Doyle, author of Love

About the author

Suad Aldarra

Suad Aldarra is a writer and data scientist based in Dublin. She was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Syrian parents. In 2003 she moved back to her family home in Syria to study software engineering. After fleeing the war in 2012 she lived in Egypt and the US, before eventually settling in Ireland. In 2021, Suad was awarded the Art Councils of Ireland English Literature bursary. I Don't Want to Talk About Home is her debut memoir.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more