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Adult Book Lists: Refugees & Immigrants in Fiction

[Printable book list]

Hakan Gunday / FIC GUNDAY
At 9-years-old Gaza becomes a human trafficker, working under the guidance of his father. Smuggling desperate refugees into Greece is the family business. But one night changes everything for Gaza and suddenly he must figure out his own fight for survival. This story examines the lives of refugees struggling to flee war and extreme violence, and the human traffickers who help them reach Europe - for a price. This is one of the first novels to document the current refugee crisis in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Stewart O'Nan / FIC ONAN
City of Secrets
This book follows Brand's involvement in the Jewish underground resistance in Jerusalem after World War II. After losing everyone he's ever loved, Brand finds himself driving a taxi provided by the underground resistance. He tries to return to the honest, strong, and morally sound man he was before the war, falling in love with Eva, a fellow survivor. He accepts more and more missions by his cell, and begins to feel as if he is being used by the cell's leader, Asher. By the time Brand discovers the truth, tragedy ensues and alters history.
(Also available in large print and audiobook)

Kate Lord Brown / FIC BROWN
The House of Dreams
This story starts in the Hamptons in the year 2000 when Sophie Cass makes an interesting discovery. This takes her all the way to 1940s Marseilles, France, where Varian Fry worked with the American Relief Center (ARC) during World War II to rescue artists targeted by the gestapo from war-torn Marseilles. Sophie arrives at the House of Dreams, digging deeper into the life of the painter she's investigating and begins to wonder if secrets may be better left to remain in the past.

Chimamanda Ngozi / FIC ADICHIE
When Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love as teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria it is under military dictatorship and people are leaving the country if they can. Ifemelu departs for America to study and discovers the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not grant him a visa. Instead, Obinze falls into a dangerous undocumented life in London. Years later, Ifemelu is a successful writer, and Obinze finds wealth in a newly democratic Nigeria. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, she and Obinze reignite their shared pas-sion and face the toughest decisions of their lives.
(Also available in large print and ebook)

Nadio Hashimi / FIC HASHIMI
When the Moon is Low
When Fereiba's beloved husband, Mahmoud, is killed by the new fundamentalist regime in Kabul, Afghanistan, she makes the decision to flee to her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from strangers, Fereiba and her three children cross into Iran under the cover of darkness and eventually reach Greece. But, when Fereiba loses sight of her teenage son Saleem in a busy market square, she makes the difficult decision to move on without him. Saleem falls into the underground network of undocumented Afghans in Europe. Across the continent, Fereiba and her son struggle to reunite.
(Also available in large print)

Lawrence Hill / FIC HILL
The Illegal
Keita's native Zantoroland turns out the fastest marathon runners in the world. All Keita has ever wanted to do is run. But, when his father is killed for his political views, Keita must flee his country. He heads to the wealthy nation of Freedom State. Keita arrives illegally and becomes a part of the underground. Authorities seek to arrest Keita as he runs races for cash prizes and continues to elude capture in the face of his sister's kidnapping.

Susan Abulhawa / FIC ABULHAWA
The Blue Between Sky and Water
This is the story of the Baraka family who live in the Palestinian farming village of Beit Daras. They are forced to leave their home by the newly formed State of Israel, and not everyone survives the long road to Gaza. The family's journey ultimately reaches America, where a granddaughter yearns to connect with her Palestinian roots, beckoning her to Gaza.

Paul Yoon / FIC YOON
Snow Hunters
Follow the journey of Yohan after he defects from his country following the Korean War and seeks a new life on the coast of Brazil. Four people slip in and out of his life during his stay in South America: a Japanese tailor for whom he works, a groundskeeper at the town church, and two vagrant children. However, before he can connect with anyone, he learns he must let go of his traumatic past.

Young-ha Kim / FIC KIM
Black Flower
At the height of the Russo-Japanese War in Asia, the Korean empire was annexed by Japan. Fearing the loss of their nation, more than a thousand Koreans left their homes and sought refuge in Mexico. After an arduous voyage across the ocean, the emigrants of a variety of class and social backgrounds learn they've been sold into indentured servitude. Eventually, some Koreans flee to Guatemala during the Mexican Revolution where they find a New Korea amid the Mayan ruins. This story is based on a little-known moment in history.

Daniel Kalla / FIC KALLA
The Far Side of the Sky
While the Nazis unleash Kristallnacht upon Jews in Germany, the Japanese Imperial Army rages through China and tightens its hold on Shanghai. The city becomes a haven for thousands of desperate European Jews. Dr. Franz Adler flees to Shanghai with his daughter and meets Soon Yi "Sunny" Mah, a nurse at a refugee hospital. Their chemistry is electric, but Sunny's life is shattered when her father is murdered. Danger continues to escalate for Shanghai's Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. This story focuses on a short period where Chinese, Japanese, and Jewish history converged.

Aimee Phan / FIC PHAN
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong
Cherry Truong decides to visit her brother who's been exiled to Vietnam by her parents for his wayward behavior. While she's there, she learns about how her grandmother was once wealthy and powerful in Vietnam, a contrast to her struggles in Little Saigon, California; and her other grandmother Hoa whose domineering husband has developed dementia. Learn the story of the Truong and Vo families as Cherry uncovers her family's secrets, hidden loves, and desperate choices in the face of war and the currents of history.

Stephen Dau / FIC DAU
The Book of Jonas
At just fifteen, Jonas is orphaned by an errant US military operation in an unnamed Muslim country. He is sent to America and struggles to assimilate. Christopher Henderson is the US soldier responsible for saving Jonas's life. Rose, Christopher's mother, has dedicated her life to figuring out the true events of that fateful night. When Jonas tells a court-mandated counselor and therapist about Christopher, he is able to meet Rose and a shocking and painful secret surfaces.

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