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The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,152 ratings  ·  173 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, 192 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
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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.
Alexandra Tamiko Da Dalt
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
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
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some seriously powerful stuff going on here!
Jay Moran
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
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
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
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
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
Inês Araújo
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
'I remember so vividly that moment when we were trying to cross, crawling through bushes, jumping over rocks, my body burning from the heat of the unforgiving sun and the white-hot fear inside me at the thought of being caught and losing my chance of having my father back in my life. At 9 years old, I was too little to make the crossing, and I could not make my legs run fast enough. I prayed for wings.'

Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
An important anthology in this day and age. It would have been even better if the format had been a little longer, many of the memoirs and essays were just getting going when it seemed they had to end due to word count. Especially one about the 'Ungrateful Refugee' were real eye openers. Indeed why do they have anything to be grateful for? It is as simple as a hungry, wet, wounded and cold person knocking on your door in the middle of the night and being turned away.
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.
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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.
Minerva LL
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful collection of essays. “It’s through capturing moments and telling stories ... that we can try to understand ourselves and our new landscapes beyond the flattened news versions of our selves” —Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

This collection also allows readers to understand refugees and immigrants beyond flattened news portraits.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read. This. Book.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘How succulent food defeated..’ was esp potent
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dina Nayeri and Kao Kalia Yang were my favorite contributors.
Megan Sanks
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
"13 ways of being an immigrant," "The Ungrateful refugees," and "Am I a refugee?" stuck with me the most.
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A collection of messages of pain and intolerance in connection to their country of origin stands in my mind against the hatred that has simmered and erupted in these days of Brexit and Trump.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
about to put in a lot of want-to-reads of books from the authors in this collection
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.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Today...required reading.
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine Editions 2 15 Apr 10, 2018 06:01PM  

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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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