Nine books about moving abroad

Ever wondered what life would be like in another country? What is it like to pack up and leave forever to start again in a new place? A good story is still the best way to experience life through someone else’s eyes. These ten books tell about life from the perspective of migrants – of all kinds: first generation, second generation, and people living abroad for shorter periods of time.

Harare North (Brian Chikwava): London is apparently home to so many Zimbabwean immigrants that it has earned the nickname ‘Harare North’. This book describes the experiences of a group of new immigrants struggling to make ends meet in a Brixton squat.

The Free World (David Bezmozgis): A Jewish family in Rome, stuck in transit as they emigrate from Latvia to an unknown final destination. Deciding (and agreeing) where to go is a difficult task…

The Dogs and the Wolves (Irene Némirovsky): Two Jewish families flee Kiev’s pogroms for Paris, to find a difficult pre-war atmosphere. Némirovsky immigrated to Paris from Ukraine as a teenager and her writing is recognised as an outstanding reflection on that time.

As the Earth Turns Silver (Alison Wong): An interracial love story between a New Zealander and a Chinese immigrant in the racist setting of colonial New Zealand. Alison Wong’s ancestors migrated to New Zealand in the 1890s.

Tales from the Expat Harem (various): A diverse collection of personal accounts from foreign women living in Turkey, which helps to make sense of this complex country.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid): A young Pakistani struggles to fit into post 9/11 USA. Mohsin Hamid’s writing is eloquent and beautiful; making what could be a difficult story quite easy to read.

Leche (R. Zamora Linkmark): An experimental but interesting novel about a Filipino born, Hawaii raised who goes back to Manila to find his roots.

Fear and Trembling (Amélie Nothomb): Based on her own experiences as a Belgian living in Japan, Amélie Nothomb writes about an internship gone wrong in a large Japanese company.

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow (Faiza Guene): She has been described as ‘the Bridget Jones of the Paris banlieues’, but Faiza Guene’s story of a French-born teenager of Moroccan origin is much more gritty than Bridget’s London life.

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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1 Comment

  • I seriously need to look at my lack of reading time and reorganise my priorities. So many wonderful books!