The Ungrateful Refugee
What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. To be a refugee is to grapple with your place in society, attempting to reconcile the life you have known with a new, unfamiliar home. All this while bearing the burden of gratitude in your host nation: the expectation that you should be forever thankful for the space you have been allowed.Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned–refugee camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In these pages, a couple falls in love over the phone, and women gather to prepare the noodles that remind them of home. A closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials.Nothing here is flattened; nothing is simplistic. Nayeri offers a new understanding of refugee life, confronting dangers from the metaphor of the swarm to the notion of “good” immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee recalibrates the conversation around the refugee experience. Here are the real human stories of what it is like to be forced to flee your home, and to journey across borders in the hope of starting afresh.

The Ungrateful Refugee Details

TitleThe Ungrateful Refugee
ReleaseMay 30th, 2019
PublisherCanongate Books
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography

The Ungrateful Refugee Review

  • Catapult
    January 1, 1970
    In her first work of nonfiction, winner of the 2018 UNESCO City of Literature Paul Engle Prize Dina Nayeri—an author whose “exploration of the exile’s predicament is tender and urgent” (The New Yorker)—examines what it means to be a refugee through her own story of childhood escape from Iran, and through the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Rhonda Lomazow
    January 1, 1970
    Dina Nayeri has written an open raw book a book that reveals what itbis like to be a refugee.She shares with us her life as a refugee from Iran and the experiences of refugees from other countries.In today’s climate this is an enlightening real look at what it takes to escape your country your homeland and adjust to a new life new world.Highly recommend this thoughtful revealing book a look at a world I knew nothing about thanks #edelweiss #catapultpublishers for my advance copy.
  • Dina
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Edelweiss for the review copy. I know it took me a while to finish it but the subject matter could be hard to read at times. I love Nayeri’s style of writing. I enjoyed learning more about this author. I learned a lot about what all refugees go through.
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting blend of memoir, narrative, and rhetoric, this takes a hard look at the experience of refugees and the mythology around immigration. There are a lot of tools in Nayeri's toolbox here, and she makes use of them well.
  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    May 15, 2019
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