Exit West offers an opportunity to understand the refugee experience on a powerful level through the eyes of two university students.
Hamid, in brief poetic prose, shows us just how quickly a country can be thrown into a wartime scenario and a people forced to displace themselves as refugees.
The title of Love, Loss and What We Ate is what sparked my interest: what could be more relatable? I knew nothing about Padma Lakshmi and didn’t even recognize her name. But it doesn’t matter; anyone can find aspects of her story engaging. She writes with honesty and simplicity about the events of her life.
At sixteen, Letty Espinosa has everything going for her – she’s young, pretty and smart with a handsome boyfriend who loves her. Only the sky is the limit. When she discovers she is pregnant, all her hopes and dreams are suddenly dashed. Now a 33-year old single mother of two, working several menial jobs to bring in money for her family, she has been living somewhat irresponsibly while her mother has been raising her two children.
Arturo and Alma Rivera lived a happy life in Mexico until their beautiful teenage daughter, Maribel, sustains a serious injury in an accident. Unsure if she'll ever be the same again, they migrate to Delaware, where Maribel will be able to attend a special school and hopefully begin her road to recovery. But America is not what the family thought it would be—Arturo’s job is brutal, Maribel doesn't seem to be making much progress in school, and Alma struggles with her new life and learning a new language.
This book is about love, racism, the immigrant experience and hair. Nigerian born Ifemelu arrives in America and blogs about her experiences as a non-American black person in the US. She leaves behind the love of her life, Obinze who has his own immigrant experience in England. In the end, she returns to Nigeria and to Obinze.
Published in 1995, The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle is still as timely today in its exploration of the dilemmas of illegal immigration. Boyle does not judge, does not side, he merely presents his story -- the sad reality of people trying to achieve the American dream.
Kimberly Chang is eleven years old when she and her mother come to America shortly before Mainland China resumes control over Hong Kong. Her aunt Paula (Kimberly's mother's older sister) along with her husband Bob act as Kimberly and her mother's sponsors covering all expenses for travel, visas, and an apartment in New York City. The apartment is in a condemned building that Paula's husband owns, and it has no heat so Kim and her mother resort to using an oven for heat during the winter. To make matters worse the apartment is infested with roaches and mice.
Children of first generation Vietnamese immigrants, Van and Linny grew apart when their mother bought a house allowing them separate bedrooms. Once close, as adults they are now bound together only by their traditional father who has called them home to celebrate his finally having applied for U.S. citizenship.