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Description de l’éditeur
“Rich and colorful… [Refuge] has the kind of immediacy commonly associated with memoir, which lends it heft, intimacy, atmosphere.” –New York Times
The moving lifetime relationship between a father and a daughter, seen through the prism of global immigration and the contemporary refugee experience.
An Iranian girl escapes to America as a child, but her father stays behind. Over twenty years, as she transforms from confused immigrant to overachieving Westerner to sophisticated European transplant, daughter and father know each other only from their visits: four crucial visits over two decades, each in a different international city. The longer they are apart, the more their lives diverge, but also the more each comes to need the other's wisdom and, ultimately, rescue. Meanwhile, refugees of all nationalities are flowing into Europe under troubling conditions. Wanting to help, but also looking for a lost sense of home, our grown-up transplant finds herself quickly entranced by a world that is at once everything she has missed and nothing that she has ever known. Will her immersion in the lives of these new refugees allow her the grace to save her father?
Refuge charts the deeply moving lifetime relationship between a father and a daughter, seen through the prism of global immigration. Beautifully written, full of insight, charm, and humor, the novel subtly exposes the parts of ourselves that get left behind in the wake of diaspora and ultimately asks: Must home always be a physical place, or can we find it in another person?
A daughter and father seek strength and solace across international and emotional divides in Nayeri's novel, rooted in the Arab Spring uprisings and the European migrant crisis. Niloofar Hamidi and her father, Bahman, have seen each other four times since she and her mother fled Iran in 1987. In years as a refugee followed by cultural isolation in her youth, Niloo insulates herself from her family's foibles and failings. Her independence leaves her empty, adrift in Amsterdam and losing touch with her family and heritage. In contrast, Bahman spends years in Iran seeking out shelter between doomed-to-fail relationships and an opium addiction that renders him increasingly toxic and dependent. Niloo's new friendship with Persian asylum-seekers and Iran's political crises of the early millennium crack the delicate stasis of their lives. Niloo must decide if the sense of commonality and empathy she shares with her refugee friends can extend to her father. Nayeri's prose sings while moving nimbly with equal parts seriousness and humor. And by the bittersweet conclusion, readers may find themselves longing for the strength to say that they, too, "tore something precious from the clenched fist of the universe."