The good immigrant 26 writers reflect on America

Book - 2019

Presents essays by first- and second-generation immigrant writers on the realities of immigration, multiculturalism, and marginalization in an increasingly divided America.

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  • Editors' Note
  • How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay
  • Swimmer
  • Sidra (in 12 Movements)
  • On the Blackness of the Panther
  • How Not to Be
  • After Migration: The Once and Future Kings
  • On Loneliness
  • Chooey-Booey and Brown
  • Luck of the Irish
  • Her Name Was India
  • Shithole Nation
  • Blond Girls in Cheongsams
  • The Naked Man
  • Your Father's Country
  • The Long Answer
  • An American, Told
  • On Being Kim Kardashian
  • Tour Diary
  • Dispatches from the Language Wars
  • Juana Azurduy Versus Christopher Columbus
  • No Es Suficiente
  • Skittles
  • Return to Macondo
  • 244 Million
  • How to Center Your Own Story
  • Acknowledgments
Review by Booklist Review

Writers Shukla (Meatspace, 2015) and Suleyman gathered essays about the immigration experiences in America by more than two-dozen writers of disparate backgrounds from many nations who are either immigrants themselves or the descendants of immigrants. Readers will discover new writers beside such well-known contributors as Teju Cole, Alexander Chee, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Daniel José Older, and Porochista Khakpour. Many write of the struggles to navigate the unrealistic expectations of those around them as they try to fit into their new world while trying to hold on to family traditions. This leads to discussions about race, religion, and sexuality as well as fashion and memories. These are also essays about relationships with loved ones and redefining the concept of home. Emotions run high as writers express despair, anger, and many levels of frustration. This anthology adds an intriguing component to the complicated kaleidoscope that is the modern immigrant debate.--Colleen Mondor Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this revealing follow-up to the 2015 British edition, Shukla (Meatspace) and Suleyman (Outside Looking On) invite 26 artists and scholars, who are immigrants or have ties to multiple countries, to reflect on race, ethnicity, nationality, belonging, and the legacy of colonization, mostly in the context of post-2016 U.S. Written after, and in response to, U.S. President Trump's Muslim travel bans and references to "shithole countries," these essays string similar notes-history, memory, pride, and (non)belonging-into many different melodies. Journalist Porochista Khakpour wonders at how she has come to write about nothing but "Iranian-America." Artists AdriA¡n and SebastiA¡n Villar Rojas lay out Argentina's struggle between its indigenous roots and its desire to be Western. Teju Cole and WalAc OyAcjidAc offer contrasting interpretations of depictions of Africa in the blockbuster film Black Panther. French-British film director Yann Demange gives an extended answer to the question, "Where are you from?" and concludes that he will keep giving the short answer, because "the alternative answer can take for-fucking-ever, innit." The strength of this collection is in its diversity-of gender, sexuality, privilege, experience, and writing style. A gift for anyone who understands or wants to learn about the breadth of experience among immigrants to the U.S., this collection showcases the joy, empathy, and fierceness needed to adopt the country as one's own. Agent: Sharmaine Lovegrove, Dialogue Books/LBUK. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

The U.S. immigrant experience is profiled in 12 eye-opening essays in this collection edited by novelist Shukla (The One Who Wrote Destiny) and poet Suleyman (Outside Looking On). Representing a range of ethnicities, such as Nigerian, Puerto Rican, and Jamaican, the contributors all tell stories that are unique to their own truths. If there is a similarity among them, it's that they are residents of a country divided by extreme political beliefs; navigating this landscape is at the heart of each essay. A companion volume to the UK collection of the same name, this U.S. edition is most powerful when describing the conflicting feelings of living in a free, democratic nation while still labeled an "outsider." For example, Nicole Dennis-Benn details her journey from Jamaica to Long Island, NY, to a writing career, all while exceeding (or bucking) expectations. "Return to Macondo" is Susanne Ramirez de Arellano's look at Puerto Rico as a U.S. territory not always seen as American, but as a place still haunted by its colonial past. VERDICT These insightful essays from well-known and upcoming writers will appeal to both adult and young adult readers.-Leah Huey, Dekalb P.L., IL © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Immigrants offer affecting personal essays about adapting to daily life in the United States while also retaining their identities forged by foreign cultures.In 2015, editors Shukla (The One Who Wrote Destiny, 2018, etc.) and Suleyman (Outside Looking On, 2014) published a similar book in the U.K. Suleyman has since relocated to New York City and taken charge of this current collection, the title of which plays on the toxic assumption that all immigrants should be perceived as "bad" until they demonstrate otherwise. The editors do not explain how they decided on the order of the essays, but many readers will agree that the first, Porochista Khakpour's "How to Write Iranian-America, or the Last Essay," qualifies as both the most inventively written and most memorable. Besides Iran, the other nations in the anthology are spread across the world, from Africa to Asia to Europe to Latin America. The contributors also explore topics around the generalized immigration experiences of both Muslims and Jews. Because some of the essays are ripped from the headlines, Donald Trump's xenophobia and immigration-related presidential policies figure in, as well. In fact, the fear spawned by the hatred of Trump and the Republican Party is palpable throughout. In that context, "Return to Macondo," by Puerto Rican writer Susanne Ramrez de Arellano, offers the especially poignantand angryperspective of a marginalized woman who "never bought the American Dream. It was a visceral reaction. This dream always had the rank smell of bullshit to me. I didn't believe it, no matter what new toothpaste or amazing trip to the moon they were selling." The author biographies at the back of the book will help readers find talented immigrant authors previously unknown to them; some of the more well-known contributors include Khakpour, Alexander Chee, Daniel Jos Elder, Teju Cole, and Nicole Dennis-Benn.As in nearly all collections, the quality varies, but there are no weak links in this well-curated book. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.