When I moved back to America in 1992, I brought two small children, a desk that had belonged to T. S. Eliot, and a whole lot of books. The kids came with me, by plane, but the books and the desk went by boat. The kids and I had dropped into rural life in upstate New York with a bump, and my life was upside-down. But six weeks later, things brightened. I got a packet of shipping documents in the mail, and my books were waiting for me at the New Jersey docks.