Social Justice Syllabus: Borders - The Displaced

Welcome back to the Social Justice Book Club: Borders, where we will read and discuss fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about immigration, asylum, and borders. Join us on the last Sunday of every month for insightful conversation. This meeting of Social Justice Syllabus: Borders will discuss The Displaced edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen on Sunday, May 26 at 7pm. Every month our selected titles are discounted 20% through the date of the book club. All are welcome, no purchase required.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen called on 17 fellow refugee writers from across the globe to shed light on their experiences, and the result is The Displaced, a powerful dispatch from the individual lives behind current headlines, with proceeds to support the International Rescue Committee (IRC). 

Today the world faces an enormous refugee crisis: 68.5 million people fleeing persecution and conflict from Myanmar to South Sudan and Syria, a figure worse than flight of Jewish and other Europeans during World War II and beyond anything the world has seen in this generation. Yet in the United States, United Kingdom, and other countries with the means to welcome refugees, anti-immigration politics and fear seem poised to shut the door. Even for readers seeking to help, the sheer scale of the problem renders the experience of refugees hard to comprehend. 

Viet Nguyen, called "one of our great chroniclers of displacement" (Joyce Carol Oates, The New Yorker), brings together writers originally from Mexico, Bosnia, Iran, Afghanistan, Soviet Ukraine, Hungary, Chile, Ethiopia, and others to make their stories heard. They are formidable in their own right--MacArthur Genius grant recipients, National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award finalists, filmmakers, speakers, lawyers, professors, and New Yorker contributors--and they are all refugees, many as children arriving in London and Toronto, Oklahoma and Minnesota, South Africa and Germany. Their 17 contributions are as diverse as their own lives have been, and yet hold just as many themes in common. 

Reyna Grande questions the line between "official" refugee and "illegal" immigrant, chronicling the disintegration of the family forced to leave her behind; Fatima Bhutto visits Alejandro Iñárritu's virtual reality border crossing installation "Flesh and Sand"; Aleksandar Hemon recounts a gay Bosnian's answer to his question, "How did you get here?"; Thi Bui offers two uniquely striking graphic panels; David Bezmozgis writes about uncovering new details about his past and attending a hearing for a new refugee; and Hmong writer Kao Kalia Yang recalls the courage of children in a camp in Thailand. 

These essays reveal moments of uncertainty, resilience in the face of trauma, and a reimagining of identity, forming a compelling look at what it means to be forced to leave home and find a place of refuge. The Displaced is also a commitment: ABRAMS will donate 10 percent of the cover price of this book, a minimum of $25,000 annually, to the International Rescue Committee, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief, and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression or violent conflict. 

List of Contributors: 
Joseph Azam 
David Bezmozgis 
Fatima Bhutto 
Thi Bui 
Ariel Dorfman 
Lev Golinkin 
Reyna Grande 
Meron Hadero 
Aleksandar Hemon 
Joseph Kertes 
Porochista Khakpour 
Marina Lewycka 
Maaza Mengiste 
Dina Nayeri 
Vu Tran 
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma 
Kao Kalia Yang

Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives Cover Image
By Viet Thanh Nguyen (Editor), David Bezmozgis (Contributions by), Thi Bui (Contributions by), Reyna Grande (Contributions by), Aleksandar Hemon (Contributions by), Vu Tran (Contributions by)
$16.00
ISBN: 9781419735110
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 16th, 2019