The Ungrateful Refugee

The Ungrateful Refugee

What Immigrants Never Tell You

Book - 2019
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What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee-camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton University. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple fall in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials. Nayeri confronts notions like "the swarm," and, on the other hand, "good" immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee challenges us to rethink how we talk about the refugee crisis.
Publisher: New York : Catapult, 2019.
ISBN: 9781948226424
Characteristics: 350 pages ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

March 7 - Diverse Voices Book Group discussion

What is it like to be a refugee? In this book, the author weaves together her own story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives, and taking us through the stages of their journeys -- from escape, to asylum, to resettlement.

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Jan 13, 2020

Thought provoking

Dec 14, 2019

I'm glad I read as much of the book as I did, (maybe a third) because I did get a real understanding of what it must be like to be a Refugee. I did however, find the writing extremely tedious and gave up reading it.

debwalker Sep 30, 2019

Dina Nayeri explores the nuances of her refugee experience. Also interesting on what libraries meant to her when she first arrived in the US as a child.

Lmb9511 Sep 28, 2019

A refugee's story, how it is presented and how it is interpreted determines the future. Dina Nayeri, who fled Iran with her family when she was eight years old, interweaves her story with those of past and present Iranian asylum seekers in Netherlands and Great Britain, some newly arrived residents of refugee camps, others who, undocumented, survive underground, others who have settled, and like Nayeri herself. are citizens of their host countries. With sympathy, she documents the anticipations and frustrations of waiting for and finally settling into a new country.

Aug 31, 2019

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