Wednesday, February 1, 2017

13 Books With Stories of Immigrants

Happy Wednesday! Here are some good books I've read that feature immigrants as characters, or are about the experience of immigrating that I think you should check out:

Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
Adult fiction, US

"A vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, Bright Lines follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past."  This book was different, absolutely full of emotion and discovery.

Intolerable by Kamal Al-Solaylee
Memoir, Canada

"Intolerable is part memoir of an Arab family caught in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics over six decades, part personal coming-out narrative and part cultural analysis. This is a story of the modern Middle East that we think we know so much about." A fascinating and extremely relevant story.

Ru by Kim Thuy
Memoir, Canada

"In vignettes of exquisite clarity, sharp observation and sly wit, we are carried along on an unforgettable journey from a palatial residence in Saigon to a crowded and muddy Malaysian refugee camp, and onward to a new life in Quebec." This book is absolutely beautiful, and made me cry multiple times.

Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz

A story about a daughter of Filipino immigrants in the US who finds out she doesn't have proper documentation, and how her teenage life is affected by that realization. There's also a fun romance in it if you like that kind of thing. 

Kay's Lucky Coin Variety by  Ann Y.K. Choi
Adult fiction, Canada

"A unique and imaginative debut novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety evocatively portrays the life of a young Korean Canadian girl who will not give up on her dreams or her family."

Citizens of Nowhere by Debi Goodwin
Nonfiction, Canada

A story that follows 11 refugees from Somalia for a year as they come to study at universities in Canada on scholarships, and all of their struggles in trying to figure out a new country.

The Lucky Ones by Anne Mahon

Nonfiction, Canada

A collection of stories of African refugees, told in their own words. Each of the stories is a small snapshot of the experiences of immigrants to Canada, each one unique.

Cockroach by Rawi Hage
Adult fiction, Canada

One of the darkest, most fascinating books I've ever read about immigration. I think I'd have to read it again to get all of the meaning out of the various images the author uses.

Beauty Plus Pity by Kevin Chong
Adult fiction, Canada

An enjoyable, quiet and slow paced book about family and relationships. "Written with a winsome yet plaintive eye, Beauty Plus Pity is about a young man who's forced to reckon with the past as he works through his lifelong ambivalence toward his hyphenated cultural identity, and between two parents holding intolerable secrets."

Listen, Slowly by Thanha Lai
MG fiction, US

A super adorable story about a young girl going back to Vietnam to visit her family who lives there, and all the trouble she gets into and friends she makes along the way.

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
YA, Australia

A heartwarming story about a family of Italian immigrants living in Australia, in particular the dramatic Josee Alibrandi.

Drive by Saviours by Chris Benjamin
Adult fiction, Canada

"Moving gracefully between Canada and Indonesia and through the two men’s histories, Drive-by Saviours is the story of desire and connection among lonely people adrift in a crowded world." Read my full review here.

Everything Was Goodbye by Gurijinder Basran
Adult fiction, Canada

"Heartbreaking and beautiful, Everything Was Good-bye is an unforgettable story about family, love, and loss, and the struggle to live in two different cultural worlds." I loved this book, and I think Meena is one of my favourite female characters. 

Recommend some of your favourite books about or written by immigrants in the comments! 

For some more recommendations, check out 49thshelf's list of books about Canada from an immigrant's point of view. 

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