Immigration is a hot topic everywhere, thanks to Brexit, Donald Trump and populist movements everywhere. Here are five new books that address these themes.
The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America, edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
This is a spirited collection of 26 essays by U.S.-based writers who have something to say about identity and belonging. It’s titled The Good Immigrant, the editors explain, because immigrants are so often regarded as “bad”: “They are job stealers, benefit scroungers, girlfriend thieves, and criminals,” until they prove otherwise. The first volume of The Good Immigrant, a collection of essays by U.K.-based writers, was published in 2016 on the eve of the Brexit vote.
Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Café and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurants, Ann Hui
In 2016, Globe and Mail reporter Ann Hui travelled from Victoria, B.C., to Fogo Island, Nfld., covering more than 9,000 km over 18 days. Her assignment: to visit family-run chop-suey restaurants and asking the owners, “How did you wind up here?” After the series ran, Hui discovered it was her family story, too: shortly after they arrived in Canada, her parents had run not one but two Chinese restaurants in Abbotsford, B.C. Chop Suey Nation is the story of her family and families like hers. It is also the moving tale of how the reporter became acquainted with her taciturn dad.
We Are Displaced, Malala Yousafzai
The young Nobel laureate, who fostered education for girls in Pakistan and was almost killed by the Taliban for her efforts, has written two previous memoirs. In this new YA book, she presents the stories of girls and women she has met in her travels, from Yemeni, Syria, Iraq, Colombia, Congo and Myanmar. The final story has a Canadian angle: Farah Mohamed, CEO of the Malala Fund, tells of her family’s arrival from Uganda in 1972, when she was 2, and the racism and bullying she encountered growing up in Burlington.
The Beauty of the Moment, Tanaz Bhathena
Susan is the new girl at her Mississauga high school, recently arrived from Saudi Arabia. She is obedient and focused. Malcolm is a cool Parsee guy, who has a rep as a bad boy since his mom died. The course of the relationship of these opposites won’t be a smooth one. This is a love story, yes, but it is also about fitting in and finding a path in life. The author, like Susan, was born in Mumbai and raised in Saudi Arabia and Toronto. This is her second YA novel.
The Twice-Born: Life and Death on the Ganges, Aatish Taseer