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Archives > Fall 2013 10.7 - Rebekah's task: Ex-pat experience

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message 1: by Liz M (new)

Liz M 10.7 - Rebekah's task - Ex-pat experience:
Read a book in which the main character lives in a country other than his/her native country, and experiences a different culture than that with which s/he is natively familiar. For example, The Poisonwood Bible or Burmese Days work, but not A Room with a View; Paris to the Moon works, but not travel literature such as Eat Pray Love (Dewey Decimal number of 910 at BPL). The following lists might be helpful in finding suggestions: American expatriate writers, Ex-Pats


message 2: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 4655 comments Would an English girl living in India work?

A Moment Comes

Also, would Gauguin count as an ex-pat character?


message 3: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Karen GHHS wrote: "Would an English girl living in India work?

A Moment Comes

Also, would Gauguin count as an ex-pat character?"


yes, a Brit living in India works
I don't know much about Gauguin but as long as the story has him living as an ex-pat


message 4: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments can you guess why I picked this task?(smile) Maybe one day I'll write a book of my own!


message 6: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 4655 comments Rebekah wrote: "can you guess why I picked this task?(smile) Maybe one day I'll write a book of my own!"

I did guess and it's a great task! I hope you do write your own book someday!


Kathleen (itpdx) (itpdx) | 1449 comments Rebekah, I hope you get to write that book!

Would stories of immigration also work? For instance Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok


message 8: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (walker) | 1506 comments I'm thinking of The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Lê Thi Diem Thúy.

Does that work?


message 9: by Rosemary (last edited Aug 26, 2013 03:59PM) (new)

Rosemary | 3109 comments What a great task!

Please could you let me know which of these from my TBR will work:

Remembering Babylon - English boy living among Australian Aborigines for maybe 25% of the book covering 16 years, then among white Australian settlers

Heart of Darkness - on one of the lists but I'm not sure if it's travel really

Memories of Rain - English man marries Indian girl, she comes to live in England

Small Island - Jamaican couple living in England

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Pakistani man living in America

Tender is The Night - Americans in France

I had a longer list but I deleted some that I know I probably won't read this season!


message 10: by Mike (new)

Mike (erasmus) I am thinking of reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell for this one. Does this work?


message 11: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Mike wrote: "I am thinking of reading The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell for this one. Does this work?"

absolutely!


message 12: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Rosemary wrote: "What a great task!

Please could you let me know which of these from my TBR will work:

Remembering Babylon - English boy living among Australian Aborigines for maybe 25% of the book covering 16 ye..."




Remembering Babylon ,
Memories of Rain ,
Small Island are fine.

If I remember right in
The Reluctant Fundamentalist the Pakistani man has already returned to his home country and is talking to an American. The American has no back story or pov, so I don't know if he would count as an ex-pat.

I haven't read Heart of Darkness or Tender Is the Night. From what I read about them I can't tell if they are more travel or vacation or if they really live as ex-pats, where they have to worry about things like buying and cooking food, deal with traffic, get a driver's license or a residence visa and all the other frustrations of living the mundane life in another country. Can you shed any light for me. I feel like I should have read these classics by now but please forgive my ignorance.


message 13: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Joanna wrote: "I'm thinking of The Gangster We Are All Looking For by Lê Thi Diem Thúy.

Does that work?"


It works.


message 14: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments itpdx wrote: "Rebekah, I hope you get to write that book!

Would stories of immigration also work? For instance Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok"


For some reason I thought being an ex-pat meant that eventually you would return home, but I have been enlightened that it also includes immigration which is great because that very much is the spirit of this task of bumping up against another culture and learning to fit into it.

So yes it works.


message 15: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments As far as writing that book, I may have to get a ghost writer. It is so much easier to tell of story of a funny incident at a dinner party than to actually have to organize your thoughts on paper. (smile)


message 16: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 4655 comments Would a college student spending a semester or year abroad work?


message 17: by Liz M (last edited Aug 28, 2013 04:33AM) (new)

Liz M Rebekah wrote: "or Tender Is the Night. From what I read about them I can't tell if they are more travel or vacation or if they really live as ex-pats, where they have to worry about things like buying and cooking food, deal with traffic, get a driver's license or a residence visa and all the other frustrations of living the mundane life in another country...."

Tender is the Night should work, although it's hard to define why. The main characters are generally filthy rich, so they don't have to deal with anything mundane (including working). Dick Diver had a partnership in a Switzerland clinic & Rosemary is a working actress for part of the book. But, none of these characters are planning on returning to the States anytime soon.


message 18: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Liz M wrote: "Rebekah wrote: "or Tender Is the Night. From what I read about them I can't tell if they are more travel or vacation or if they really live as ex-pats, where they have to worry about things like bu..."

But is it about their experiences having to deal living and making adjustments
To live within a foreign culture? That is the spirit of the task.


message 19: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Karen GHHS wrote: "Would a college student spending a semester or year abroad work?"

Yes it works. A book in this vein is The Foreign Student: A Novel . If the student lives with a host family, and attending school with their peers albeit in another culture works very well. That is total immersion. of course the longer they stay the better. I would prefer they live at least a year or better yet, long enough to obtain a degree.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 12676 comments Rebekah wrote: "But is it about their experiences having to deal living and making adjustments
To live within a foreign culture? That is the spirit of the task. "


The very wealthy live similarly world-wide, I think - at least the differences between cultures are lessened the more money there is. Without giving spoilers, part of this book does have the main characters dealing directly with those living natively.


message 22: by Liz M (new)

Liz M Jenifer wrote: "How about Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight?"

No, the book is about her childhood growing up in Africa. Since she moved there when she was two, Africa was the culture she was natively familiar with.


message 23: by Jenifer (new)

Jenifer (jensamaha) | 261 comments Okay, that's what I thought but wanted to make sure. Thanks.


message 24: by Anika (new)

Anika | 2054 comments just want to get this cleared before I go reading it then have nowhere to put it :-)

Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia by Janet Wallach


message 25: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Anika wrote: "just want to get this cleared before I go reading it then have nowhere to put it :-)

Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia..."


Yes it works. I have that book too.


message 26: by Kathleen (itpdx) (new)

Kathleen (itpdx) (itpdx) | 1449 comments So nonfiction works for this, too?


message 27: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments absolutely. The books I put on the Goodreads list are non-fiction


message 28: by Heather (last edited Sep 04, 2013 12:10PM) (new)

Heather (sarielswish) | 722 comments ok, odd question - what about a character who is born/lives on another planet or is shipped off into the unknown? IE Time for the Stars, where a set of twins are recruited as telepathic communicators and one is sent to another star system to explore for earth-type planets and the other stays on earth as a receiver or Stranger in a Strange Land, where the main character was born on Mars?


message 29: by Paula (new)

Paula | 163 comments Heather, you asked my question about Stranger in a Strange Landperfectly - thanks!

Also, if that doesn't work, I'd like to check on Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time as the main character (and this is a true story) spends time between the US and Pakistan and Afghanistan, navigating local customs and challenges (e.g., buying lumber in a foreign country where you have to first meet the seller, have tea, etc.). Thank you!


message 30: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 4655 comments I have one I'm curious about also. I think it literally fits, but I'm not sure it fits what you have in mind:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

What do you think?


message 31: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Heather wrote: "ok, odd question - what about a character who is born/lives on another planet or is shipped off into the unknown? IE Time for the Stars, where a set of twins are recruited as telepathic communicat..."

It must be real countries on real Earth


message 32: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Paula wrote: "Heather, you asked my question about Stranger in a Strange Landperfectly - thanks!

Also, if that doesn't work, I'd like to check on Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One Sc..."


See above answer and for Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time would work fine. When the book starts he is living with a native family for quite some time as he is nursed back to health. Wasn't he even adopted by the father of the family? It's been a while since I read it, but it was one of my favorites and I even gave copies to some of my friends and family.


message 33: by Paula (new)

Paula | 163 comments Ok, thanks for the answer! I don't know about his adoption - haven't read the book yet :)


message 34: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments I don't know if it was an official adoption, but I think he called him "father" and felt a strong bond with him. After you finish, you can tell me the answer. (smile)


message 35: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Sep 09, 2013 12:50PM) (new)

Elizabeth (Alaska) | 12676 comments I have just come into possession of The Daughters of Mars, and can only see a possibility for your task. It would have been perfect for your nurse's task! But that was then and this is now. This is a book where 2 women leave Australia for Gallipoli and to France, even to England - and war cannot be anything but an entirely different culture. I know it's a stretch and if you say no, I'll understand.

ETA: I can swap in a couple of Pick n Mix places, too.


message 36: by Lis. (new)

Lis. (virtualrealities) | 1 comments Oh my gosh, an ex-pat girl in India? Thats definitely adventurous and dangerous. She needs to wear rape prevention glasses at all time, it's mandatory!


Karen GHHS wrote: "Would an English girl living in India work?

A Moment Comes

Also, would Gauguin count as an ex-pat character?"



message 37: by Rebekah (last edited Sep 10, 2013 11:46PM) (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Lis. wrote: "Oh my gosh, an ex-pat girl in India? Thats definitely adventurous and dangerous. She needs to wear rape prevention glasses at all time, it's mandatory!


Karen GHHS wrote: "Would an English girl li..."


hmmm
I lived 8 years in New Delhi. I raised two teenage girls there. I have to say I felt much more worried in Houston at times than New Delhi. What recently happened in New Delhi is not a common occurrence and the citizens are horrified. Men themselves are speaking out against it and most likely the adult criminals will receive the death penalty.
How many horrific rapes and murders happen in US and how many of the victims get that kind of justice? Furthermore you don't have to worry about gang warfare on the streets like in our big cities, schools being shot up and even mugging is much more rare than in US.
India does have serious gender issue problems dowry being among the worse as well as what is known as "eve-Teasing".

I am so looking forward to being able to go back and visit New Delhi while we are back in Asia again. I have to stand up for them in this. I have seen the ugly sides of that country but believe me violence is much worse in US.
Most of the Indians I met were gentle, helpful, and generous people.


message 38: by Karen Michele (new)

Karen Michele Burns (klibrary) | 4655 comments Rebekah wrote: "Lis. wrote: "Oh my gosh, an ex-pat girl in India? Thats definitely adventurous and dangerous. She needs to wear rape prevention glasses at all time, it's mandatory!


Karen GHHS wrote: "Would an En..."


I love this task for the opportunities to learn about culture from books and from you, Rebekah! The book A Moment Comes, a new YA book, is actually set in 1947 at the time of the partition of India, so the British girl is a part of the "ruling class" but it also involves main characters from India at the time. I'm starting it soon and really looking forward to it.


message 39: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Karen GHHS wrote: "Rebekah wrote: "Lis. wrote: "Oh my gosh, an ex-pat girl in India? Thats definitely adventurous and dangerous. She needs to wear rape prevention glasses at all time, it's mandatory!


Karen GHHS wro..."


that was a really interesting time. Also because of the Partition, a very devastating time. I saw your review and the three viewpoints seem like a good way to get a more 3 dimensional idea about it.


message 40: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments I finally got my Sept/Oct issue of Bookmarks magazine. There is a spotlight on books about immigration in the issue!


message 41: by Deedee (new)

Deedee | 1982 comments I'm wondering if We Need New Names fits this task. This 2013 Booker Prize Shortlisted novel was written by NoViolet Bulawayo who was "born and raised in Zimbabwe and now lives in the United States". Like the author, the narrator of this novel was born in Zimbabwe. During the first half of the novel the narrator lives in Zimbabwe; during the second half of the novel she lives in America.


message 42: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments It works, DeeDee. I wonder what is the story behind the author's name?


message 43: by Anika (last edited Sep 24, 2013 06:55PM) (new)

Anika | 2054 comments Wondering if In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin would work? About the American ambassador to Nazi Germany, which was vastly different from the culture they had left behind.


message 44: by Deedee (last edited Sep 25, 2013 03:29AM) (new)

Deedee | 1982 comments Rebekah wrote: "It works, DeeDee. I wonder what is the story behind the author's name?"

I did also. wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NoViolet... says that NoViolet Bulawayo is the pen name of Elizabeth Zandile Tshele. Maybe "NoViolet" was her nickname in Zimbabwe?


message 45: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Anika wrote: "Wondering if In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin would work? About the American ambassador to Nazi Germany, which was vastly different from the culture ..."

it works


message 46: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Deedee wrote: "Rebekah wrote: "It works, DeeDee. I wonder what is the story behind the author's name?"

I did also. wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NoViolet... says that NoViolet Bulawayo is th..."


Funny. How would you earn that nickname? Well it goes with the title, We Need New Names lol


message 47: by Sam (new)

Sam (theliteraryhooker) | 1008 comments I think this will work, but I want to confirm. Would The Paris Wife work for this task? From the blurb it sounds like there's definitely an element of culture shock.


message 48: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah (bekalynn) | 4468 comments Sam wrote: "I think this will work, but I want to confirm. Would The Paris Wife work for this task? From the blurb it sounds like there's definitely an element of culture shock."

you're right. A think not only the culture shock living in foreign country but probably living with Hemingway would take a lot of adjustment


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