Lockdown Book Club | The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

Books sitting on a chair

Lockdown Book Club | The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives

Need some reading inspiration this lockdown? Megan, from our wonderful Support Team, has written a review of The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives. This book is a collection of essays by refugee writers from a variety of contexts and experiences. The Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the volume, Viet Thanh Nguyen, comes from a refugee background himself, having fled from Vietnam to America in 1975.

Keep reading to find out Megan’s thoughts about the book...

'Can you be tied to your homeland if you have no memory of it?'

This collection of short essays written by refugees from a variety of countries and backgrounds explores themes of identity, nationality, loss and roots.

From Ethiopia to Bosnia, the essays highlight the heterogeneity of the refugee experience. Even people fleeing the same country have vastly different journeys, practically, emotionally and spiritually.

The book gives us an opportunity to explore the concept of identity further, asking poignant questions like:

Can you be tied to your homeland if you have no memory of it?

How can food root you to your community?

Are you always a refugee, even when you are safe?

One essay explores who sets the parameters between an ‘official refugee’ and ‘illegal migrant’ in a Mexican/American context, other essays compare how different countries’ integration policies affect people’s daily lives, demonstrating further diversity of experience.

This book gives substance to stories of refugees around the world, moving away from the 2D images of refugee camps and boat crossings. Instead, it provides a colourful patchwork of moving narratives, creating deeper empathy for those of us lucky enough to have never fled over an international border.

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