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A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  23 reviews
From rediscovering an ancestral village in China to experiencing the realities of American life as a Nigerian, the search for belonging crosses borders and generations. Selected from the archives of Catapult magazine, the essays in A Map Is Only One Story highlight the human side of immigration policies and polarized rhetoric, as twenty writers share provocative personal ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Catapult
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Kathryn in FL
Available in February 2020

My feelings about this collection of non-fiction essays is mixed. I have always been very invested in reading stories and talking to actual immigrants about their expectations and experiences prior to immigration, and their current perceptions once they have become citizens or residents of the U.S.

Three of my grandparents emigrated to the U.S. in the early 20th century from Europe, with the full Ellis Island Experience. Since I was the last child in the family, none of
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the first published anthology of writing from Catapult magazine, twenty writers share stories of migration, family, the search for home and belonging, and what it means to exist between languages and cultures.
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
What I love most about essay collections is that they introduce me to many new writers I would not have otherwise come across. This anthology was well worth the read just for that. There actually quite a few essays by South Asian women in here too! Some of my favorite essays were, A Map of Lost Things by Jamila Osman, Return to Partition by Nur Nasreen Ibrahim, Undocumented Lovers in America by Krystal A. Sital, How to Stop Saying Sorry When Things Aren't Your Fault by Kamna Muddagouni, The ...more
Sachi Argabright
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A MAP IS ONLY ONE STORY is an anthology collection of essays focused on immigration. This book features 20 writers and their unique stories that explore family, being caught between cultures, and what it truly means to be home. Told from a diverse set of voices from many backgrounds, this collection has many interesting perspectives that will resonate with many readers.

This recent release is something you wont want to miss! I absolutely loved reading this collection, and I flew through it in a
Nicole Means
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"A Map is Only One Story" needs to be integrated in history courses internationally. As a social studies teacher, I anxiously awaited this book for months prior to its release--this book exceeded my expectations because the diversity of voices represented throughout the essays are powerful representations of the immigrant experience. The editors selected diverse voices that will help readers move beyond a 'single story' of the immigrant experience--not all immigrants are the same culture, ...more
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: march
"Where are you from? People stilll ask me, but the answer is not simple. I am from a place beyond the scope of any map or road atlas. I am from a house of borrowed things, a land of irreconcilable and devastating losses, a terrain marked by grief. I am from nomads who moved in search of water, carving a home wherever they ended up, like water carves itsnshape into rock. I am from wild hope, a blinding courage, a blur and madness uncharted by any cartographer. I am from a land unmapped and ...more
Sarah Crass
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A collection of 20 essays - insights into the lives of individuals and families living far from home. All choosing immigration for different reasons - all struggling to reconcile identity and home. Powerful, proud, strong and honest. An excellent book. ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 * rounded up

I am conflicted with this review. On one hand, it's important for diverse voices to be heard. Stories from immigrants, existing in liminal places, experiencing cultural schizophrenia, struggling to survive day to day. I appreciate their honesty and sincerity in conveying what they and their families have been through.

However, I can't shrug off that the quality of writing in this anthology is mediocre. Take 'A Map of Lost Things,' tied to the title of this anthology. Jamila Osman
Ben Truong
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home is an anthology of twenty personal essays, which was collected and edited by Nicole Chung and Mensah Demary. It is a collection of personal essays about immigration and the meaning of home from twenty emerging and established women writers.

For the most part, I rather like most if not all of these contributions. A Map Is Only One Story: Twenty Writers on Immigration, Family, and the Meaning of Home is an
Madeleine Elise
Mar 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall, after reflecting on my experience of reading this collection of non-fiction essays on immigration, my final feelings are fairly mixed. All of the stories were beautifully written, stuffed full of beautiful prose and magical turns of storytelling. Unfortunately, this was the only thing some of them had in common. Of course, immigration is the main theme of the collection, and they do string together on this thread well-- but the attitudes of the authors were vastly different to the point ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a good collection of essays from twenty writers on immigration, migration, identity, home and culture. The essays (and one essay with cartoons!) are about the authors' own experiences, the experiences of their parents or the experiences of their grandparents and how it has affected them.

Some are stronger than others, but I found myself thinking during a lot of them, "I'll have to include that as a favorite in the Goodreads review." Obviously, reading all of them is the best bet, but I did
Lilly Schmaltz
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Catapult for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

While I dont read much non-fiction, I was enthralled by this collection of essays. The writers are diverse and pour their hearts onto the page. I could feel the hope and struggle of these writers and their families.

As a transracial adoptee, I appreciated the themes of identity, family, and belonging. All are thinkings I have struggled with and these writers not only shared their unique perspectives on the topics, but
average rating: 3.35

This collection contains 20 stories of writers from a variety of backgrounds who have migrated from their home country. Themes include: the feeling of being stuck between two cultures, not fitting in, having a specific idea of what it means to be a citizen of a certain place, being separated from family, language barriers, and much more.

As in any collection, I was drawn to some pieces more than others. Favorites include: "A Map of Lost Things" by Jamila Osman, "This Hell Not
Greg Barbee
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An anthology almost necessarily has its strong and weak components, but the stories contained in A Map Is Only One Story consistently set the bar high. I had read the great work of many of these writers in other contexts, so their strength and vision were expected, but story after story I found myself transported to different families, different homes and different maps, culminating in a better understanding of [myself], our communities and the world we live in. Many thanks to Nicole Chung and ...more
Kerry Tousignant
Mar 29, 2020 rated it liked it
The essays were hit or miss, from touching to nearly nonsensical. The book started strong but I lost interest after a few seemingly incomplete narratives. Overall, this book felt more like an aspirational literary collection than an accessible guide to the trials and tribulations of being an immigrant in America.
Chang Garcia
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting essays.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Important read! Some of the essays were more powerful than others, but overall a 5 for its cultural and political significance.
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it

Anthologies are so hard to rate because some of these stories were 5/5, but others I found to be poorly written.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I think I would've been more impressed by this one had I not already read The Good Immigrant. But regardless, there were a few lovely essays in here.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.75/5 for this one.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.5 stars
Mostly not first-tier essays, but among them some really interesting takes on immigration and its issues. I particularly liked "My Indian Passport is a Bitch," "How to Write Iranian America," "Should I Apply for Citizenship," all cover interesting perspectives of what it is like to an outsider in America. So defintely worth reading and exploring.
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Nicole Chung has written for The New York Times, the Times Magazine, GQ, Longreads, The Cut, Vulture, Slate, and Hazlitt, among others. She is the editor in chief of Catapult magazine and the former managing editor of The Toast. All You Can Ever Know is her first book. Find her on Twitter at @nicole_soojung.

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