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Descripción de editorial
'A vital book for our times' ROBERT MACFARLANE
'Unflinching, complex, provocative' NIKESH SHUKLA
'A work of astonishing, insistent importance' Observer
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. Now, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years. In these pages, 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.
Surprising and provocative, The Ungrateful Refugee recalibrates the conversation around the refugee experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to be forced to flee your home, and to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh.
Novelist Nayeri (Refuge) explores the plight of refugees through the prism of her own childhood escape from Iran in this provocative account. She begins with an account of how, after being threatened for practicing Christianity in the 1980s, eight-year-old Nayeri and her family fled Iran, found refuge in Italy, and were later granted asylum in the U.S. She then interviews and reflects on other refugees, many of whom escape tyrannical governments and poverty only to be interned in crowded camps as they await asylum: Kambiz, a young Iranian man accused of adultery for befriending a married woman, fled to the Netherlands, where, facing deportation, he killed himself (Nayeri read about him then interviewed his relatives and friends). Majid and Farzaneh, who left Iran for Europe with their daughters, crossed the Aegean Sea in an overcrowded, water-logged boat and experienced refugee camps with overflowing toilets. Valid and Taraa survived threats from the Taliban and a near-fatal car crash only to be granted asylum in Greece after 15 years on the waiting list. Filled with evocative prose ("We are all immigrants from the past, and home lives inside the memory, where we lock it up and pretend it is unchanged"), Nayeri reveals the indignities exiles suffer as they dodge danger and shed their identities and souls while attempting to find safety. This thought-provoking narrative is a moving look at the current immigrant experience.