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The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  875 ratings  ·  140 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 ...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
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
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, wholesome. Immigrant is what you see on clean official documents, if you're one of the lucky few; refugee is the reality of refugee camps
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 ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An interesting collection of stories written by refugees from all over the world that helps to give an understanding of what's it like to experience something like this.
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
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 ...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
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
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I stumbled across while browsing in my local library, and picked up for two reasons. First, given the ongoing surge of anti-immigrant/nativist sentiment, the topic seemed especially relevant. Second, it would help filla square for the library's summer reading challenge ('a book about an immigrant').

What I got from this book was mostly grief: grief for the circumstances that create the need for people to flee to a safer location and grief for how they are treated when they
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘How succulent food defeated..’ was esp potent
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read. This. Book.
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
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dina Nayeri and Kao Kalia Yang were my favorite contributors.
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.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of essays by refugees about the lives of refugees. Powerful, touching, and timely.
Ashtar Boulos
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an important book for all people to read in a rapidly globalizing world to help immigrant/refugee folks find relatable stories and language and for others to better understand and empathize with those experiences.

It makes so much sense to me that this was collated by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This reads like a collection a professor would want to share with his class on immigrant/refugee experiences and identity. It provides a range of experiences and perspectives and while the writers come
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The other exists in contradiction, or perhaps in paradox, being either invisible or hypervisible, but rarely just visible. Most of the time we do not see the other or see right through them, whoever the other may be to us, since each of us-even if we are seen as others by some-have our own others. When we do see the other, the other is not truly human to us, by very definition of being an other, but instead a stereotype, a joke, or a horror."

"The Vietnamese refugees who came to the United
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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
“Readers and writers should not deceive themselves that literature changes the world. Literature changes the world of readers and writers, but literature does not change the world until people get out of their chairs, go out in the world, and do something to transform the conditions of which the literature speaks.” 4 likes
“With the exception of those born in refugee camps, every refugee used to have a life. It doesn’t matter whether you were a physician in Bosnia or a goat herder in the Congo: what matters is that a thousand little anchors once moored you to the world. Becoming a refugee means watching as those anchors are severed, one by one, until at last you’re floating outside of society, an untethered phantom in need of a new life.” 2 likes
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