25 Books That Movingly Capture the Immigration Experience
The Ungrateful Refugee is a companion read to virtually every single book on this list. When Dina Nayeri was a child, she and her family fled Iran and sought asylum in the U.S. Her world was uprooted, and so was her sense of self. Nayeri uses her own experiences as a springboard for telling other immigrants' stories, providing the unfiltered, no-holds-barred commentary about what it means to leave—and not be welcomed upon your arrival.
What's it like to cross the border with your family? Grande's story begins with her parents' trek across the border in search of the American Dream, followed by her mother's return in order to bring her kids back to the U.S. Grande's memoir is both funny and heartbreaking, capturing the confusion and contradictions of childhood along with the joys and sorrows of being a young immigrant in search for a place to call home.
Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife, Afra, live a simple and happy life in Aleppo, Syria—at least, they do for years. Then comes war, the same one that has been dominating headlines for years. Following the couple's journey away from everything they've ever known, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a portrait of the sadness and strength behind so many news stories.
This poetic memoir is, among other things, an elegant telling of a boy who grows up among poor Mexican farmworkers and loses his mother at age 12. But it's also a tale of coming into his identity as a gay man living in a machismo culture before eventually accepting himself for all that he is—even after being abandoned by his father.
Exit West blends the horrors of war with a trick of magical realism. Saeed and Nadia are a young couple forced to flee their unnamed homeland for a saga that takes them from Greece to London to the U.S. Their journey is all too real—it's their manner of travel that's the unusual part: They can escape through random doors.
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