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The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,799 ratings  ·  259 reviews
In January 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries and dramatically cutting the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States each year. The American people spoke up, with protests, marches, donations, and lawsuits that quickly overturned the order. But the refugee caps remaine ...more
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 4.38  · 
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 ·  1,799 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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books like this one remind me why we read.

doesn't seem right to rate or review this one. just read it.


taking lily's idea and reading only books by asian authors this month!

book 1: the incendiaries
book 2: last night at the telegraph club
book 3: dear girls
book 4: sigh, gone
book 5: frankly in love
book 6: emergency contact
book 7: your house will pay
book 8: convenience store woman
book 9: on earth we're briefly gorgeous
book 10: we are not free
book 11: searching for sylvie lee
book 12: the d
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I were going to recommend a book, this is the ONE. I found myself choking with so much emotion while reading some of these stories. I don’t pretend that I know what the authors shared and revealed. I can only speak to the power of stories to touch me deeply and to make me care about someone else—and to some extent, about their pain and confusion, and to feel that across time and on the page.

Several stories linger in my heart and mind. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Introduction is quite poignant. “The P
Inderjit Sanghera
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection of stories from prominent writers and public figures is a brilliant dissection and exploration of what it means to be a refugees it all of its guises; from Raja who feels like a refugee in his own country following the annexation of Palestine by Israel, to Dina who feels weighed down my the perpetual pressure to be grateful to her hosts irrespective of how she is treated, to the tragic tale of Kemal who is left rootless, both in terms of his place in the world but also in his own ...more
Powerful and moving. I read the sampler that includes ten essays. The final book will have a total of 20 essays. All royalties will be donated to the International Rescue Committee. Full review to come.

I received this book (PDF) for free from NetGalley and ABRAMS. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It will be available on April 10, 2018.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An excellent collection of essays about refugees by refugees, and extremely relevant in these turbulent times.

Proceeds from sales are donated to the IRC (International Rescue Committee).

I have always preferred the word "refugee" to "immigrant" myself. There's something urgent and immediate about the sound of refugee, whereas immigrant sounds more sanitized, more wholesome. Immigrant is what you see on clean official documents, if you're one of the lucky few; refugee is the reality of refugee cam
Alexandra Tamiko
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We’re facing a crisis of empathy when it comes to speaking about displacement, migration, and borders. The Displaced is a moving and timely collection of essays that explores these ideas through the experiences of 20 authors, spanning decades and the globe.

I’m a huge fan of Viet Thanh Nguyen’s work, The Sympathizer and short story collection The Refugees being two of my favourite books. I have worked for the International Rescue Committee, the organization receiving donations from sales of The D
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some seriously powerful stuff going on here!
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a phenomenal book that I loved from start to finish and I can honestly say that I think this a vital piece of work that everyone should read. I was so impressed and moved by each and every essay that I immediately felt the urge to share it with as many people as possible. From Syria to Ethiopia to Vietnam, we hear a variety of voices of refugees who are relating their experiences of leaving their home country to find refuge elsewhere and the subsequent trauma they are still dealing and c ...more
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like learning about other people's experiences. I admire each refugee who shared their story for their strength and determination, and they have all given me something to think about when encountering refugees. I want to recognize them and their experiences and not make feel like they are second class citizens. They have something to contribute to the world just as much as I do. ...more
Thomas Edmund
Apr 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing
So I have to confess something that I realized when I picked up this book. Hopefully I can explain this without sounding too terrible, but I noticed that I had a kind of "refugee trope" in my head, where I expected a sort of 3-act structure for stories about refugee's, e.g. Act 1. suffering in country of origin, Act. 2 perilous journey Act 3. Struggle to fit in and find acceptance in new country.

Now that is nothing like the tales presented here. In fact this book almost acted as s debunking of t
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been following Viet Thanh Nguyen on Twitter for some time and have read a couple of essays by him on the New Yorker. This book which is edited by him is a great piece of refugee authors making their cases against the Model Minority Myth,how progressives often fall for the anti-refugee/anti-immigrant rhetoric by employing a mellow version, invisibility as a crucial part of a refugee’s identity and the global tendency that is seeking to push compassion to the sideline with a profit-oriented ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was surprisingly enjoyable and thoughtful. It is a collection of short writings by refugee writers about their lives as refugees. This goes beyond considerations of immigration and emigration to one’s identity as a refugee and the experience of seeking refuge. The editor Nguyen has focused on refugee writers for whom coming to grips with their identities as refugees was central to their coming of age as writers and honing both their skills and their messages. No single particular passa ...more
James Banzer
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
It's doubtful that few people other than refugees can truly know the feeling of permanently forsaking their home country, but some idea can be gleaned from the pages of this book. The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives consists of essays of various writers who fled their homelands in search of a new existence. The editing is by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanah Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam before the fall of South Vietnam in 1971.

Each story is a unique perspective. You wou
Carol Douglas
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Does a person who has been a refugee ever stop being a refugee? Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and many of the writers in this book he edited ask that question. Some felt that they were no longer refugees, then came to feel that they still were, in part because that is how others saw them.

Keeping people in a refugee camp is unjust, Nguyen writes. It is imprisoning them though they have committed no crime. He calls for a more just world, world without borders.

Most of the refuge
Viet Thanh Nguyen serves as editor for a short but impactful collection of essays about refugees and the refugee experience. I read a lot about immigration. I'm not entirely unaware that many of these stories are actually about refugees, but it's interesting that people often morph themselves into "immigrants," when in fact most of our families came from a refugee experience at some point. My father's family came in dribs and drabs to both coasts (and ended up with numerous spellings of our last ...more
This is not a book for feeling comfortable about one's beliefs and experiences, but it is an important book for empathy-building. I think most Americans would have something to think about as they read it, since many of our ancestors will have experienced similar feelings of outsider-ness when they arrived on US shores. Although most would have been economic migrants rather than asylum seekers or refugees of war, there's a lot to be learned about the human condition as we read about the movement ...more
I feel that in order to better empathize with the plight of others, we must bear witness to their suffering and not turn a blind eye.

This novel offers us short stories from refugees hailing from various parts of the globe - Vietnam, then Yugoslavia, Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Mexico, Central America, and parts of Africa.

I am amazed that there have been so many countries and parts of the world plagued with war, death, relocation, poverty, loss... all on their home soil.

Why does the global commu
Nick Iwan
Nov 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome quick read. A collection of short essays which explain the varied outcomes and emotions of refugees in new and unfamiliar countries. 19 different perspectives allow you to understand fully, how difficult and traumatic this process can be. I appreciated learning about their experiences.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard to find words for this book. It’s beautiful but heartbreaking, inspiring but enraging. This book reminded me that I most love reading when reading helps me learn because it’s one of those books that smacks me in the face with how ignorant I am and how little I know about lives different from my own. The stories here are varied but all compelling, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
This was a really interesting collection. Some beautiful writing and storytelling, even if it's heartbreaking at times. The really interesting part was how each writer approached the premise of writing about being a refugee. They all had really different stories, coming from different countries at different times under different circumstances, but they also just all had varying ideas of how to write about it. It's hard to rate this kind of thing, but I think it's worth a read. ...more
Filumeno Andrade Moreira
"Each displacement is a tale"

In my opinion, there's one thing that these stories have in common: they show that the experience you gain from travelling is the exact opposite as the one created by the displacement. They're both movement experiences, although one of them enriches you while the other one dispossesses you, from your identity, your singularity, your humanity.

Luckily these stories get to be shared, countering the mainstream narratives offered by medias and politicians, reminding us t
caitlin tiddy
Jan 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-tbr
“The journey is designed to test the body’s resilience. Its intent is to break a human being and rearrange them inside. Every inch forward is a reminder of one’s frailty. You do not arrive the same as when you left. You will sometimes look at a stranger and recognize yourself reflected in that new life: impossibly alive, walking through the lingering flow of a splendid sun while trying to spin free of a permanent darkness.”

Reading experiences from migrants and refugees over the years has change
Stan Georgiana
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sua, vietnam
I don't like to give it 2 stars because the topic is really important, but it was ok and that means 2 (and I liked it). Maybe it's because I am not the target audience, I am familiar with the topic, I already believe in everything they said. Unfortunately, that also means that there was nothing new for me here, nothing that made me think about another perspective. Recommended for people who are at the beginning of understanding the refugee situation. I think that I would have appreciated longer ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
This book made me think about the difference between and immigrant and a refugee. An immigrant is a person who chooses to leave his/her country.Looking back at my family tree, most of my ancestors were immigrants. For example my great great great grandmother and her youngest son came to the United States soon after the Civil War. Her husband had died recently and the factory where they worked in Carlisle, England had to be closed down. She and her younger son were both out the only jobs that the ...more
Amy Moritz
Mar 20, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chq
I picked up this book a bit ago as it's on the historic Chautauqua Scientific and Literary Circle. Then came the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the mass refugee exodus. On top of crisis around the world that continue to displace people. And it's Lent. I was gearing up to say there was no better time to pick up a collection of stories by refugee writers on refugee lives. But it is ALWAYS a good time to read the stories of people with different life experiences than you.

All the stories were real
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: viet, nonfic
"True justice is creating a world of social, economic, cultural, and political opportunities that would allow all these voiceless to tell their stories and be heard, rather than dependent on a writer or a representative of some kind."

The Displaced is a very interesting anthology because it centers around the refugee voices. There is a diverse array of authors of color included from all walks of life and different refugee stories/experiences. My favorites were "Introduction" by Viet Thanh Nguyen,
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved the uniqueness of each essay; the book encompasses a broad range of identities, experiences, and perspectives that were all enriching to read. My favourites in the collection were "The Ungrateful Refugee" by Dina Nayeri, "13 Ways of Being an Immigrant" by Porochista Khakpour, and "Refugee Children: The Yang Warriors" by Kao Kalia Yang. ...more
Molly Nguyen
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of short essays as it provides a monumental read on displaced refugees. Most of us have the luxury of living in a comfortable space but more often than not past stories about losing your home and loved ones are overlooked - such as these refugees. Pick up this book to be moved and enlightened by voices from all over the world.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book that I have already recommended to easily a dozen people and given away several copies.
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
"The Displaced" contains no surprises. These are stories of refugees from across the globe – from Mexico to Bosnia to Iran to Thailand – in their uncensored form. Many of the essays contain reflections on what refugee identity means to them, most contain stories of flights on foot to what were supposed to be safe havens, and some contain graphic images of torture and death.

It is my worry that the only eyes that will read these essays belong to those that already sympathize with the plight of re
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Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of the novel The Sympathizer (Grove Press, 2015). He also authored Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America (Oxford University Press, 2002) and co-edited Transpacific Studies: Framing an Emerging Field (University of Hawaii Press, 2014). An associate professor at the University of Southern California, he teaches in the departments of English and ...more

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