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 authorLucy