Hello, Stranger

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About Hello, Stranger

Hello, Stranger weaves together stories from Bulgaria to Birmingham to Burma, with philosophy and history and anthropology, to explore our ticklish relationships with people we don’t know.

Sometimes it can be bewildering to live in a world of strangers. But Hello Strangers asks the question: what if the people we meet were not a problem, but a gift? Taking in stories of loneliness, exile and friendship from classical times to the modern day, Hello, Stranger asks: how do we set aside our instinctive xenophobia – fear of outsiders – and embrace our equally natural philoxenia – love of strangers and newness?

Hello, Stranger was a Bookseller Editor’s Choice for summer 2021, and BBC Radio4 Book of the Week. It has been translated into German and Korean.

What Are People Saying?

Humane and heart-warming

— Bookseller Editor’s Choice

An elegant and moving exploration of what it means to connect with strangers turns into an elegy for a much-missed way of life… while Hello, Stranger is a beautiful meditation on the pleasures and pains of a world to which many of us yearn to return, it may also be an elegy for a world that is lost to us for some time to come.

— The Guardian

Will Buckingham has written a moving memoir of finding solace, after the death of his life partner, in travelling and talking in lands such as Myanmar that are culturally distant from his native England.

— The Economist

A wonderful mix of history, anthropology and psychology

— The Herald

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

A glorious book, fabulously learned and funny, and filled with all manner of stirring stories.

— Philip Marsden, author of The Summer Isles

Buckingham provides a map for others to follow, showing that when we show kindness to strangers, we may be entertaining angels unawares

— John Paul Flintoff, author of How to Change the World (School of Life)

Hello, Stranger links a personal story with a wider consideration of how humans and other primates make connection beyond their home communities. It explores loneliness and loss, and why welcome matters… I was gripped.

— The Friend