Immigration and Immigrants

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I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
Gharib, Malaka, and Toby Leigh. I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"I Was Their American Dream is at once a coming-of-age story and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid. Malaka Gharib's triumphant graphic memoir brings to life her teenage antics and illuminates earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka's story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream."–Amazon
Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China
Guo, Xiaolu. Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China. First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition. New York: Grove Press, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice. Her vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents is the story of a curious mind coming of age in an inhospitable country, and her determination to seek a life beyond the limits of its borders. Xiaolu Guo has traveled further than most to become who she needed to be. Now, as she experiences the birth of her daughter in a London maternity ward surrounded by women from all over the world, she looks back on that journey. It begins in the fishing village shack on the East China Sea where her illiterate grandparents raised her, and brings her to a rapidly changing Beijing, full of contradictions: a thriving underground art scene amid mass censorship, curious Westerners who held out affection only to disappear back home. Eventually Xiaolu determined to see the world beyond China for herself, and now, after fifteen years in Europe, her words resonate with the insight of someone both an outsider and at home, in a world far beyond the country of her birth. Nine Continents presents a fascinating portrait of China in the eighties and nineties, how the Cultural Revolution shaped families, and how the country's economic ambitions gave rise to great change. It is also a moving testament to the birth of a creative spirit, and of a new generation being raised to become citizens of the world. It confirms Xiaolu Guo as one of world literature's most urgent voices."--Provided by publisher.

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We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir
Habib, Samra. We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir. Toronto: Viking, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A queer Muslim searches for the language to express her truest self, making peace with her sexuality, her family, and Islam. Growing up in Pakistan, Samra Habib lacks a blueprint for the life she wants. She has a mother who gave up everything to be a pious, dutiful wife and an overprotective father who seems to conspire against a life of any adventure. Plus, she has to hide the fact that she's Ahmadi to avoid persecution from religious extremists. As the threats against her family increase, they seek refuge in Canada, where new financial and cultural obstacles await them. When Samra discovers that her mother has arranged her marriage, she must again hide a part of herself–the fun-loving, feminist teenager that has begun to bloom–until she simply can't any longer. So begins a journey of self-discovery that takes her to Tokyo, where she comes to terms with her sexuality, and to a queer-friendly mosque in Toronto, where she returns to her faith in the same neighbourhood where she attended her first drag show. Along the way, she learns that the facets of her identity aren't as incompatible as she was led to believe, and that her people had always been there–the world just wasn't ready for them yet."– provided by publisher.
Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
Hong, Cathy Park. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition--if such a thing exists? Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality--when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche--and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth"-- Provided by publisher.

A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness and the struggle to be human. Hong blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. She believes that "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality-- when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. -- adapted from jacket

The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician
Huchu, Tendai. The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician. Maestro, the magistrate and the mathematician. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
This novel follows three Zimbabwean men as they struggle to find places for themselves in a new society. As he wanders Edinburgh to a constant loop of the music from home, the Magistrate–once a judge, now a health aide–tries to find meaning in his new surroundings. The depressed and quixotic Maestro–gone AWOL from his job at a grocery store–escapes into books. And the youthful Mathematician enjoys a carefree graduate school life, until he can no longer ignore the struggles of his fellow expatriates. Huchu deploys satire to thoughtful end in what is quickly becoming his signature mode. Shying from neither the political nor the personal, he creates a humorous but increasingly somber picture of love, loss, and belonging in the Zimbabwean diaspora.
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The Time between Places: Stories That Weave In and Out of Egypt and America
Kaldas, Pauline. The Time between Places: Stories That Weave In and Out of Egypt and America. University of Arkansas Press, 2010. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"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."
Above Us the Milky Way: An Illuminated Alphabet
Karimi, Fowzia. Above Us the Milky Way: An Illuminated Alphabet. Dallas, TX: Deep Vellum Publishing, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A debut novel about a young family forced to flee their war-ravaged homeland, forced to leave behind everything and everyone beloved and familiar. Old family photographs and the author's own lush watercolor paintings inspired by medieval illuminated manuscripts interweave with remembrances, ghost stories, stories of the war dead, and fairy tales to conjure a story of war, of emigration and immigration, the remarkable human capacity to experience love and wonder amidst destruction and loss, and how to create beauty out of horror"-- Provided by publisher.
Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor
Klein Halevi, Yossi. Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor. New York: Harper, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor is one Israeli's powerful attempt to reach beyond the wall that separates Israelis and Palestinians and into the hearts of "the enemy." In a series of letters, Yossi Klein Halevi explains what motivated him to leave his native New York in his twenties and move to Israel to participate in the drama of the renewal of a Jewish homeland, which he is committed to see succeed as a morally responsible, democratic state in the Middle East."–Amazon.com
Katihar to Kennedy: The Road Less Travelled
Kumar, Sanjay. Katihar to Kennedy: The Road Less Travelled. New Delhi, India: Vani Book Company, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"'Katihar to Kennedy' is an extraordinary journey of a man from dusty alleys of Katihar to the gleaming pathways of Kennedy. It is an autobiographical account of a small-town boy who starts his journey from a tiny town of Bihar, in one of India’s economically backward districts and is able to reach the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The journey also depicts the inner conflicts of a man and his continuous efforts to overcome all the difficulties in his path while fighting with his inner shortcomings. The book is about the lessons he learned – from failures as well as from moments of triumph. These are learned while engaging intimately with harsh socio-economic realities, and contrasts he experienced while moving between cities, institutions, and job roles. It is also a book of honest confrontation, of a person’s own ego and pride." - Amazon.com
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Interpreter of Maladies: Stories
Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies: Stories. Second Mariner Books edition. Boston: Mariner Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

View eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required] - 1999 edition

"Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this stunning debut collection unerring charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations. In stories that travel from India to America and back again, Lahiri speaks with universal eloquence to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner."–Provided by publisher.

Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America
Lalami, Laila. Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America. First Edition. New York: Pantheon Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"The acclaimed, award-winning novelist--author of The Moor's Account and The Other Americans--now gives us a bracingly personal work of nonfiction that is concerned with the experiences of "conditional citizens." What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth--such as national origin, race, or gender--that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other. Brilliantly argued and deeply personal, Conditional Citizens weaves together the author's own experiences with explorations of the place of nonwhites in the broader American culture"-- Provided by publisher.
The Other Americans
Lalami, Laila. The Other Americans. New York: Pantheon Books, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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"From the Pulitzer Prize finalist, author of The Moor's Account–a timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant that is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all of it informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Nora Guerraoui, a jazz composer, returns home to a small town in the Mojave after hearing that her father, owner of a popular restaurant there, has been killed in a suspicious hit-and-run car accident. Told by multiple narrators–Nora herself, Jeremy (the Iraq war veteran with whom she develops an intimacy), widow Maryam, Efrain (an immigrant witness to the accident who refuses to get involved for fear of deportation), Coleman (the police investigator), and Driss (the dead man himself), The Other Americans deftly explores one family's secrets and hypocrisies even as it offers a portrait of Americans riven by race, class, and religion, living side by side, yet ignorant of the vicissitudes that each tribe, as it were, faces" – provided by publisher.

Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong
Lawton, Georgina. Raceless: In Search of Family, Identity, and the Truth about Where I Belong. New York: Harper Perennial, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
 "Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice. In Georgina's insistently color-blind household, with no acknowledgement of her difference or access to black culture, she lacked the coordinates to make sense of who she was. It was only after her father's death that Georgina began to unravel the truth about her parentage--and the racial identity that she had been denied. She fled from England and the turmoil of her home-life to live in black communities around the globe--the US, the UK, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and Morocco--and to explore her identity and what it meant to live in and navigate the world as a black woman. She spoke with psychologists, sociologists, experts in genetic testing, and other individuals whose experiences of racial identity have been fraught or questioned in the hopes of understanding how, exactly, we identify ourselves. Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: what constitutes our sense of self? Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one's identity." --Amazon.ca.
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What We Are: A Novel
Malae, Peter Nathaniel. What We Are: A Novel. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 2011. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
"This novel of a young Samoan-American’s search for authenticity is “a rollercoaster ride inside the haunted house of American multi-cultural sin and shame” (Sherman Alexie). The twenty-eight-year-old mixed-race son of a Samoan immigrant, Paul Tusifale is desperate to find his place in an American culture that barely acknowledges his existence. Within the Silicon Valley landscape of grass-roots activists and dotcom headquarters, where the plight of migrant workers is ever-present, Paul drifts on and off the radar. An unemployed drifter who defiantly—even violently—defends those in need, Paul soon discovers that life as an urban Robin Hood will never provide the answers he seeks. So he decides to try the straight-and-narrow: getting a job, obeying the law, and reconnecting with his family. Along the way, Paul moves through the lives of sinister old friends, suburban cranksters, and septuagenarian swingers. A dynamic addition to America’s diverse literature of the outsider, What We Are brings to life the pull of a departed father’s homeland, the anger of class divisions, the noise of the evening news, and the pathos of the disengaged."
The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life
Markham, Lauren. The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life. First paperback edition. New York: Broadway Books, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"The deeply reported story of identical twin brothers who escape El Salvador's violence to build new lives in California–fighting to survive, to stay, and to belong. Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the faraway land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region's brutal gangs he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind–away from one danger and toward the great American unknown. In this urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother's custody in Oakland, CA. Soon these unaccompanied minors are navigating a new school in a new language, working to pay down their mounting coyote debt, and facing their day in immigration court, while also encountering the triumphs and pitfalls of life as American teenagers–girls, grades, Facebook–with only each other for support. With intimate access and breathtaking range, Markham offers a coming of age tale that is also a nuanced portrait of Central America's child exodus, an investigation of U.S. immigration policy, and an unforgettable testament to the migrant experience."–Provided by publisher.
This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto
Mehta, Suketu. This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrant's Manifesto. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and rancor these days than immigration. In [this book], the renowned author Suketu Mehta offers a reality-based polemic that vitally clarifies the debate. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the globe, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. As he explains, the West is being destroyed not by immigrants but by fear of immigrants. Ranging from Dubai and Morocco to New York City, Mehta contrasts the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of laborers, domestic workers, and others, and he takes readers on a heartbreaking trip to San Diego and Tijuana, where a border fence divides families and damages lives. Throughout, Mehta shows why more people are on the move today than ever before. As civil strife and climate change reshape large parts of the planet, it is little surprise that borders have become so porous. But Mehta also stresses the destructive legacies of colonialism and global inequality in large swaths of the world: when today's immigrants are asked, "Why are you here?" they can justly respond, "We are here because you were there." And now that they are here, Mehta contends, they bring great benefits, enabling countries and communities to flourish. Impassioned, rigorous, and richly stocked with memorable stories and characters, [this book] is an urgent and necessary intervention, and a literary argument of the highest order."--Dust jacket.
A Place for Us
Mirza, Fatima Farheen. A Place for Us. First US edition. New York: SJP for Hogarth, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"A story of family identity and belonging follows an Indian family through the marriage of their daughter, from the parents' arrival in the United States to the return of their estranged son. As an Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister's footsteps. And their estranged son, Amar, returns to the family for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride. What secrets and betrayals have caused this close-knit family to fracture?" -- adapted from jacket.
Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir
Mohabir, Rajiv. Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir. Brooklyn, New York: Restless Books, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"Winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Rajiv Mohabir's Antiman is an impassioned, genre-blending memoir that navigates the fraught constellations of race, sexuality, and cultural heritage that have shaped his experiences as an Indo-Guyanese queer poet and immigrant to the United States."–Amazon.com.
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The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You
Nayeri, Dina. The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You. New York: Catapult, 2019. Book @ Harvard Library
Things We Lost to the Water
Nguyen, Eric. Things We Lost to the Water. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
"When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father. Over time, Huong realizes she will never see Cong again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity–as individuals and as a family–tears them apart, until disaster strikes and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them"–

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