“Home is where the heart is.” “There’s no place like home.” “ ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there,/ They have to take you in.’ ” “You can’t go home again.” No doubt even before the Odyssey the strain of homecoming was troubled by unwelcoming. For every Penelope weaving by day and unweaving by night, there are a hundred suitors waiting to kill you. Ovid was sent into exile for a “mistake” more tantalizing for remaining a mystery; had he returned to Rome without leave, Augustus would have put him to death. The longing for home is so universal, rare are the fictions where the prodigal son refuses to return.

No matter how long a maze, twenty yards or twenty years, the Minotaur lurks at the center—eventually you’ll end up there, like it or not. Philip...


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