This collection of twenty stories delves into the lives of Egyptian characters, from those living in Egypt to those who have immigrated to the United States. With subtle and eloquent prose, the complexities of these characters are revealed, opening a door into their intimate struggles with identity and place. We meet people who are tempted by the possibilities of America and others who are tempted by the desire to return home. Some are in the throes of re-creating themselves in the new world while others seem to be embedded in the loss of their homeland. Many of these characters, although physically located in either the United States or Egypt, have lives that embrace both cultures. ""A Game of Chance"" follows the actions of a young man when he wins the immigration lottery and then must decide whether or not to change his life. ""Cumin and Coriander"" takes us inside a woman's thoughts as she tries to come to terms with the path her life has taken while working as a cook for American expatriates in Egypt. ""The Top"" enters the mind of a man whose immigration results in a loss of identity and sanity. These compelling stories pull us into the lives of many different characters and offer us striking insights into the Arab American experience.
How do we survive our family, stay bound to our community, and keep from losing ourselves? In All That Work and Still No Boys, Kathryn Ma exposes the deepest fears and longings that we mask in family life and observes the long shadows cast by history and displacement. Here are ten stories that wound and satisfy in equal measure. Ma probes the immigrant experience, most particularly among northern CaliforniaOCOs Chinese Americans, illuminating for us the confounding nature of duty, transformation, and loss. A boy exposed to racial hatred finds out the true difference between his mother and his father. Two old rivals briefly lay down their weapons, but loneliness and despair wonOCOt let them forget the past. A young Beijing tour guide with a terrible family secret must take an adopted Chinese girl and her American family to visit an orphanage. And in the prize-winning title story, a mother refuses to let her son save her life, insisting instead on a sacrifice by her daughter. Intimate in detail and universal in theme, these stories give us the compelling voice of an exciting new author whose intelligence, insight, and wit impart a sense of grace to the bitter resentments and enduring ties that comprise family love. Even through the tensions Ma creates so deftly, the peace and security that come from building and belonging to oneOCOs own community shine forth."
A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream--the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy
A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home. Why Apaches? asks the ten-year-old son. Because they were the last of something, answers his father. In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an "immigration crisis": thousands of kids trying to cross the southwestern border into the United States, but getting detained--or lost in the desert along the way. As the family drives--through Virginia to Tennessee, across Oklahoma and Texas--we sense they are on the brink of a crisis of their own. A fissure is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet. They are led, inexorably, to a grand, harrowing adventure--both in the desert landscape and within the chambers of their own imaginations. Told through several compelling voices, blending texts, sounds, and images, Lost Children Archive is an astonishing feat of literary virtuosity. It is a richly engaging story of how we document our experiences, and how we remember the things that matter to us the most. With urgency and empathy, it takes us deep into the lives of one remarkable family as it probes the nature of justice and equality today.
A searing debut novel that explores community, identity, and the myth of the American dream through an immigrant family in Alaska In Chia-Chia Lin's debut novel, The Unpassing, we meet a Taiwanese immigrant family of six struggling to make ends meet on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska. The father, hardworking but beaten down, is employed as a plumber and repairman, while the mother, a loving, strong-willed, and unpredictably emotional matriarch, holds the house together. When ten-year-old Gavin contracts meningitis at school, he falls into a deep, nearly fatal coma. He wakes up a week later to learn that his little sister Ruby was infected, too. She did not survive. Routine takes over for the grieving family: the siblings care for each other as they befriend a neighboring family and explore the woods; distance grows between the parents as they deal with their loss separately. But things spiral when the father, increasingly guilt ridden after Ruby's death, is sued for not properly installing a septic tank, which results in grave harm to a little boy. In the ensuing chaos, what really happened to Ruby finally emerges. With flowing prose that evokes the terrifying beauty of the Alaskan wilderness, Lin explores the fallout after the loss of a child and the way in which a family is forced to grieve in a place that doesn't yet feel like home. Emotionally raw and subtly suspenseful, The Unpassing is a deeply felt family saga that dismisses the American dream for a harsher, but ultimately more profound, reality.
A stunning and timely novel about a Mexican-American family in Brownsville, Texas, that reluctantly becomes involved in smuggling immigrants into the United States. From a distance, the towns along the U.S.-Mexican border have dangerous reputations--on one side, drug cartels; on the other, zealous border patrol agents--and Brownsville is no different. But to twelve-year-old Orly, it's simply where his godmother Nina lives--and where he is being forced to stay the summer after his mother's sudden death. For Nina, Brownsville is where she grew up, where she lost her first and only love, and where she stayed as her relatives moved away and her neighborhood deteriorated. It's the place where she has buried all her secrets--and now she has another: she's providing refuge for a young immigrant boy named Daniel, for whom traveling to America has meant trading one set of dangers for another. Separated from the violent human traffickers who brought him across the border and pursued by the authorities, Daniel must stay completely hidden. But Orly's arrival threatens to put them all at risk of exposure. Tackling the crisis of U.S. immigration policy from a deeply human angle, Where We Come From explores through an intimate lens the ways that family history shapes us, how secrets can burden us, and how finding compassion and understanding for others can ultimately set us free.
The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings. At the end of the school year, Ivan goes to Budapest for the summer, and Selin heads to the Hungarian countryside, to teach English in a program run by one of Ivan's friends. On the way, she spends two weeks visiting Paris with Svetlana. Selin's summer in Europe does not resonate with anything she has previously heard about the typical experiences of American college students, or indeed of any other kinds of people. For Selin, this is a journey further inside herself: a coming to grips with the ineffable and exhilarating confusion of first love, and with the growing consciousness that she is doomed to become a writer. With superlative emotional and intellectual sensitivity, mordant wit, and pitch-perfect style, Batuman dramatizes the uncertainty of life on the cusp of adulthood. Her prose is a rare and inimitable combination of tenderness and wisdom; its logic as natural and inscrutable as that of memory itself. The Idiot is a heroic yet self-effacing reckoning with the terror and joy of becoming a person in a world that is as intoxicating as it is disquieting. Batuman's fiction is unguarded against both life's affronts and its beauty--and has at its command the complete range of thinking and feeling which they entail.
Her name is Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me." America has lost its way. The strongest of people can be found in the unlikeliest of places. The future of the entire country will depend on them. All across the United States, people scramble to survive new, draconian policies that mark and track immigrants and their children (citizens or not) as their freedoms rapidly erode around them. For the "inked"--those whose immigration status has been permanently tattooed on their wrists--those famous words on the Statue of Liberty are starting to ring hollow. The tattoos have marked them for horrors they could not have imagined within US borders. As the nightmare unfolds before them, unforeseen alliances between the inked--like Mari, Meche, and Toño--and non-immigrants--Finn, Del, and Abbie--are formed, all in the desperate hope to confront it. Ink is the story of their ingenuity. Of their resilience. Of their magic. A story of how the power of love and community out-survives even the grimmest times.
Uli's first flight, a late-night joy ride with his brother, changes their lives forever when the engine stops and the boys crash land, with "Texas to the right and Mexico to the left." Before the accident, Uli juggled his status as both an undocumented immigrant and a high school track star in Harlingen, Texas, desperately hoping to avoid being deported like his father. His mother Araceli spent her time waiting for her husband. His older brother Cuauhtémoc, a former high-school track star turned drop-out, learned to fly a crop duster, spraying pesticide over their home in the citrus grove. After the crash, Cuauhtémoc wakes up bound and gagged, wondering where he is. Uli comes to in a hospital, praying that it's on the American side of the border. And their mother finds herself waiting for her sons as well as her missing husband. Araceli knows that she has to go back to the country she left behind in order to find her family.In Mexico, each is forced to navigate the complexities of their past and an unknown world of deprivation and violence. Ruthless drug cartels force Cuauhtémoc to fly drugs. "If a brick goes missing, Cuauhtémoc dies. If a plane goes missing, Cuauhtémoc dies. If Cuauhtémoc goes missing, they find Cuauhtémoc (wherever he's at) and Cuauhtémoc dies." If they can't find him, they will kill his mother. They have photos of her in Matamoros to prove they can enforce the threat. Meanwhile, Uli returns to his family's home in San Miguel and finds a city virtually abandoned, devastated by battles between soldiers, cartels and militias that vie for control. Vividly portraying the impact of international drug smuggling on the innocent, Peña's debut novel also probes the loss of talented individuals and the black market machines fed with the people removed and shut out of America. Ultimately, Bang is a riveting tale about ordinary people forced to do dangerous, unimaginable things.
A powerful, tender story of race and identity by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Half of a Yellow Sun. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion--for each other and for their homeland.
In the Midst of Winter begins with a minor traffic accident--which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected and moving love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives. Richard Bowmaster--a 60-year-old human rights scholar--hits the car of Evelyn Ortega--a young, undocumented immigrant from Guatemala--in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn. What at first seems just a small inconvenience takes an unforeseen and far more serious turn when Evelyn turns up at the professor's house seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant Lucia Maraz--a 62-year-old lecturer from Chile--for her advice. These three very different people are brought together in a mesmerizing story that moves from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil, sparking the beginning of a long overdue love story between Richard and Lucia. Exploring the timely issues of human rights and the plight of immigrants and refugees, the book recalls Allende's landmark novel The House of the Spirits in the way it embraces the cause of "humanity, and it does so with passion, humor, and wisdom that transcend politics" (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post). In the Midst of Winter will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
An urgent, essential collection of stories about immigration, broken dreams, Los Angeles gang members, Latin American families, and other tales of high stakes journeys, from the award-winning author of War by Candlelight and At Night We Walk in Circles. Migration. Betrayal. Family secrets. Doomed love. Uncertain futures. In Daniel Alarcón's hands, these are transformed into deeply human stories with high stakes. In "The Thousands," people are on the move and forging new paths; hope and heartbreak abound. A man deals with the fallout of his blind relatives' mysterious deaths and his father's mental breakdown and incarceration in "The Bridge." A gang member discovers a way to forgiveness and redemption through the haze of violence and trauma in "The Ballad of Rocky Rontal." And in the tour de force novella, "The Auroras", a man severs himself from his old life and seeks to make a new one in a new city, only to find himself seduced and controlled by a powerful woman. Richly drawn, full of unforgettable characters, The King is Always Above the People reveals experiences both unsettling and unknown, and yet eerily familiar in this new world.
This powerful 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning novel tells of two refugees starting over after losing everything. Jovan and his wife have fled war-torn Sarajevo. They have lost their children, their comfortable lives as public intellectuals, and their connection to each other. Now relocated to a suburb of Melbourne, they must rebuild their lives under the painful and sometimes violent hardships of immigrant life.
A powerful story of exile, migration, and betrayal, from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author ofParadise. Salim has always known that his father does not want him. Living with his parents and his adored Uncle Amir in a house full of secrets, he is a bookish child, a dreamer haunted by night terrors. It is the 1970s and Zanzibar is changing. Tourists arrive, the island's white sands obscuring the memory of recent conflict--the longed-for independence from British colonialism swiftly followed by bloody revolution. When his father moves out, retreating into disheveled introspection, Salim is confused and ashamed. His mother does not discuss the change, nor does she explain her absences with a strange man; silence is layered on silence. When glamorous Uncle Amir, now a senior diplomat, offers Salim an escape, the lonely teenager travels to London for college. But nothing has prepared him for the biting cold and seething crowds of this hostile city. Struggling to find a foothold, and to understand the darkness at the heart of his family, he must face devastating truths about those closest to him--and about love, sex, and power. Evoking the immigrant experience with unsentimental precision and profound understanding,Gravel Heart is a powerfully affecting story of isolation, identity, belonging, and betrayal, and Abdulrazak Gurnah's most astonishing achievement.
Nguyen's next fiction book,The Refugees, is a collection of perfectly formed stories written over a period of twenty years, exploring questions of immigration, identity, love, and family. With the coruscating gaze that informedThe Sympathizer, inThe Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice in American letters,The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
A sly debut story collection that conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City--for readers of Zadie Smith and Helen Oyeyemi. Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize * Winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction * Finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New Yorker * NPR * O: The Oprah Magazine * The Guardian * Esquire * New York * BuzzFeed A fresh new voice emerges with the arrival of Sour Heart, establishing Jenny Zhang as a frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Her stories cut across generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. In the absence of grown-ups, latchkey kids experiment on each other until one day the experiments turn violent; an overbearing mother abandons her artistic aspirations to come to America but relives her glory days through karaoke; and a shy loner struggles to master English so she can speak to God. Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat--dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck--these seven stories showcase Zhang's compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor reminiscent of Portnoy's Complaint. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again. Praise for Sour Heart "[Jenny Zhang's] coming-of-age tales are coarse and funny, sweet and sour, told in language that's rough-hewn yet pulsating with energy."--USA Today "One of the knockout fiction debuts of the year."--New York "Compelling writing about what it means to be a teenager . . . It's brilliant, it's dark, but it's also humorous and filled with love."--Isaac Fitzgerald, Today "[A] combustible collection . . . in a class of its own."--Booklist (starred review) "Gorgeous and grotesque . . . [a] tremendous debut."--Slate
In this suspenseful, tender, and completely absorbing debut set in a perilous post-Katrina New Orleans and cartel-plagued Mexico, two teenagers discover a temporary haven in each other. "The Infinite is that rare, beautiful first novel, so contemporary and yet as timeless as first love itself. And Nick Mainieri does what great novelists do with their first great works. He creates unforgettable characters in young lovers Jonah and Luz who, both together and alone, navigate the rushing river of the borderlands that mark our two Americas. The Infinite is a heart song, and Nicholas Mainieri is one of our next great storytellers."--Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda and Three Day Road Jonah McBee has deep roots in New Orleans, but with hardly any family left, he half-heartedly is planning to enlist in the army after high school. Luz Hidalgo, an undocumented Latina and budding track star, followed her father there after Hurricane Katrina. Both have known loss. Both are struggling to imagine a new future. And when Jonah and Luz fall in love, it is intense, addictive, and real. But everything changes when Luz discovers that she's pregnant. In a moment of panic, her father sends Luz back to Mexico so her grandmother can help raise the baby. Devastated, Jonah decides to take a road trip with his best friend when he doesn't hear from her. Little does Jonah know, Luz is fighting for her life. Her trip has been cut short by a shocking act of violence, thrusting her into the endless cycle of bloodshed perpetrated by the cartels. So Luz does what she does best: She runs. And she goes farther and deeper than she ever imagined. A breathtaking portrait of post-Katrina New Orleans and a riveting descent into Mexico's drug war, The Infinite is an utterly unique debut novel about the borders that divide us--and the truths that unite us.
The Wangs vs. the World is an outrageously funny tale about a wealthy Chinese-American family that "loses it all, then takes a healing, uproarious road trip across the United States" (Entertainment Weekly). Their spectacular fall from riches to rags brings the Wangs together in a way money never could. It's an epic family saga and an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America.