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—22.5 million people fleeing persecution and conflict from Myanmar to Syria, closer to the flight of Jewish and other Europeans during World War II than 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:
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
Kao Kalia Yang
Viet Thanh Nguyen was born in Vietnam in 1971. After the fall of Saigon in 1975 he and his family fled to the United States as refugees. Nguyen’s 2015 novel The Sympathizer won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the ALA, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the California Book Award for First Fiction, and the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. In addition, The Sympathizer was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, among others. Nguyen is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. His 2016 collection of critical essays, Nothing Ever Dies, was a finalist for the National Book Award and is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction. His first collection of short stories, The Refugees, was published in 2017 and was an instant New York Times Bestseller. He lives in Los Angeles.
|Publication Date||10 April 2018|