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An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America. From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America. From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as "lively and vital," editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be here is under attack. Chigozie Obioma unpacks an Igbo proverb that helped him navigate his journey to America from Nigeria. Jenny Zhang analyzes cultural appropriation in 90s fashion, recalling her own pain and confusion as a teenager trying to fit in. Fatimah Asghar describes the flood of memory and emotion triggered by an encounter with an Uber driver from Kashmir. Alexander Chee writes of a visit to Korea that changed his relationship to his heritage. These writers, and the many others in this singular collection, share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, troubling and uplifting, the essays in The Good Immigrant come together to create a provocative, conversation-sparking, multivocal portrait of America now.


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An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America. From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated An urgent collection of essays by first and second-generation immigrants, exploring what it's like to be othered in an increasingly divided America. From Trump's proposed border wall and travel ban to the marching of White Supremacists in Charlottesville, America is consumed by tensions over immigration and the question of which bodies are welcome. In this much-anticipated follow-up to the bestselling UK edition, hailed by Zadie Smith as "lively and vital," editors Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman hand the microphone to an incredible range of writers whose humanity and right to be here is under attack. Chigozie Obioma unpacks an Igbo proverb that helped him navigate his journey to America from Nigeria. Jenny Zhang analyzes cultural appropriation in 90s fashion, recalling her own pain and confusion as a teenager trying to fit in. Fatimah Asghar describes the flood of memory and emotion triggered by an encounter with an Uber driver from Kashmir. Alexander Chee writes of a visit to Korea that changed his relationship to his heritage. These writers, and the many others in this singular collection, share powerful personal stories of living between cultures and languages while struggling to figure out who they are and where they belong. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, troubling and uplifting, the essays in The Good Immigrant come together to create a provocative, conversation-sparking, multivocal portrait of America now.

30 review for The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    An excellent and timely essay collection. Of course it's timely, it was put together as a way of providing another point in the midst of current events regarding immigration. This book is not trying to be a commentary on US immigration policy. It's purpose is to provide a view into the immigrant experience in America. Some of the stories are about the impact of the culture on the upbringing of the daughters and sons of immigrants. What is life in America like for families from other countries/cu An excellent and timely essay collection. Of course it's timely, it was put together as a way of providing another point in the midst of current events regarding immigration. This book is not trying to be a commentary on US immigration policy. It's purpose is to provide a view into the immigrant experience in America. Some of the stories are about the impact of the culture on the upbringing of the daughters and sons of immigrants. What is life in America like for families from other countries/cultures? There was an attempt to get a good cross section around the globe to describe the experience. The quality of writing here is excellent. All of the contributors are writers and/or journalists and it shows. In fact I was introduced to several writers whose books I want to read in the future. For example, after reading the Fatima Farheen Mirza essay "Skittles", I absolutely have to read A Place for Us. There were a few things that kept this from being a 5 Star collection for me. First, while it's clear there was a deliberate attempt to get a wide cross section of countries of origin, there are several stories from the same countries or from countries one would expect to see here. Several tales from Nigeria, India, Pakistan while there was only one story from Mexico, one from South America, none from Southeast Asia, the Middle East (no I don't think of Turkey as the Middle East), Europe (not including the UK), none from Eastern block countries. It's immigrant by virtue of appearance as if the only immigrant experiences worth examining are people who are "othered" on sight. There were two stories from the UK by white immigrants whose role was to detail how they were not treated like other immigrants. Which brings up another point, the concept of the "other". There was a lot of discussion of exclusion, isolation, cultural dissonance and assimilation and differences which in my mind starts to leave the concept of the immigrant experience and gets into the concept of "otherness". The otherness is more about bigotry, racism, religious intolerance and cultural appropriation; not necessarily about the immigrant experiences. It's as if the America in the book = "Christian White America" and no other segments of America needs to understand the immigrant perspective. The "otherness" in this book felt very familiar. The immigrant experiences started intertwining and melding. The implied effect is that America standardizes its treatment of "others" no matter the kind of "other". Also, very few of the essays discussed why these families came to America. This is to say that the editors seemed to veer a little from the subject. Distracted by the powerful and excellent writing, they encountered scope creep. There are plenty of Americans who are distant from their "immigrant roots", who have similar feelings of exclusion loss, isolation and injustice that immigrants do, that think immigrants are the responsible for their own diminished prospects. These folks need to be included in the conversation. And certainly there are "Christian White" immigrants with similar feelings of longing and loss and loneliness and assimilation associated with coming to America. Where were those stories? Summary: (view spoiler)[ How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay - (Iran) Journalist ponders what it means to have Iranian heritage as a journalist in America. To get writing jobs, she constantly has to represent the Iranian American view rather than just an American view. She also ponders the stereotypes associated with being an Iranian-American. Swimmer - (Jamaica) Nicole Dennis-Benn likens her experience in college in America to swimming for the first time. Hers was an opportunity given to so few, so she could not talk about how she felt scared, uncomfortable, homesick, and whether it was what she wanted (med school) etc. Also she was struggling with her homosexuality from a country of origin that does not like it at all. Sidra - (Eritrea) Rahawa Haile talks about growing up with a father who was determined to be a "good immigrant" He ends up emotionally distant from his daughters. Speaks to culture and the desire for a better life and the combating of stereo types. This one did a very good job at showing perspectives, the different cultures and the father's desire to assimilate and his issues w/ self esteem aka toxic masculinity. On the Blackness of the Panther - (Nigeria) Teju Cole ponders the notion of immigrant as he was born in America and raised in Nigeria. He discusses being seen as Black, then as African as if Africa wasn't a continent but a country. Also he compares the big cats Panthers, Jaguars, leopards, cheetahs all which have produced black cubs and how people just see every black big cat as a panther. How Not to Be - (India) Woman remembers her childhood. How her limits were defined by "what not to do". For example how some girls would wait til they got to school and hike their skirts and wear make up but were careful to put themselves back before they went home so they didn't disappoint their parents. A story about the persistent need to please your parents steeped in the old ways of their country. After Migration: The Once and Future Kings - (Ghana/Nigeria) Man muses about his journey as an immigrant, stay at home day and fashion designer. He muses about stereotypes, impressions and the patriarchy. On Loneliness - (Pakistan/India) A first generation American-Pakistani orphaned woman looks for signs of her parents. She meets an uber driver with similar background and connects on a level that she needed, but it only lasts for the length of the ride. Talks about how Americans really don't know how to connect with people whose ancestry is other than their own. They stereotype. Superficial judgments. Chooey-Booey and Brown - (India/Kenya) - A chef talks about the stereotypes associated with curry and her Indian background. Her concept of the curry comes from her Kenyan grandfather. Her point was that there are many types of curry and many cultures that use curry but the stereotype is always Indian. It's like pizza to Italy, a British construct applied to India with no real meaning. Luck of the Irish - (Ireland) Maeve Higgins makes a very compelling point that skin color is very relevant in the immigration discussion. A policy that predates Trump (though Trump turned it up to 11). Her Name was India - (India) Krutika Mallikarjuna reminisces about coming out to her immigrant parents. The object of her affection: a white girl named "India". Shithole Nation - (Haiti) A powerful memoir-ish essay about a Haitian immigrant, the utter poverty that he came from, the desolute poverty that he moved into when he came to the US and the real chances of success as a Haitian immigrant. He paints a dark picture. What brings him somewhat out of it was not wanting to see his son grow up like he did." Blonde Girls in Cheongsams - (China) An essay about cultural appropriation and the othering in the suburbs. Cheongsams are Chinese style dresses that were trendy in the 90s." The Naked Man - (Nigeria) Chigozie Obioma talks about his immigrant experience as a writer in Cypress and in the US. Interesting perspective as his experience is a bit of a reluctance at coming to the US. Coming here was not a goal of his. His goal was to publish his book The Fishermen which BTW is excellent as was this essay. Your Father's Country - (South Korea) - A writer meditates on a tarmac in S Korea a little petrified as Trump plays politics with North Korea. The Long Answer - (Algeria/France) - A really good essay about a director who has been an immigrant in many places (France, Algeria, UK, US). He talks about the othering in the various countries. He is French/Algerian and has half brothers with a different variation. One of my favorites. An American Told - (Scotland/Russia) Not really an immigrant tale, but a children of immigrants tale. Author is white and noting the differences in the way she is treated. Also, she talks of her immigrant experience in other countries. On Being Kardashian - (Turkey) - Writer muses on the politics of skin color and how she is seen as white in America and is affected by how America sees Turkish. It's either Ataturk or Kardashians who are more pop culture constructs than ethnic in her view. Tour Diary - (Pakistan) Really interesting essay of a diary kept by a member of a punk rock band who member were of Pakistani decent. His impressions during their tour in middle America. Dispatches From the Language Wars - (Spanish) Writer talks about the language of Spanish and how it is a part of his heritage and his being. He is not an immigrant but a child of an immigrant that eshewed Spanish until he was in college and discovered what he'd been missing. Juana Azurduy Versus Christopher Columbus - (Argentina) This one may have been a little misplaced in this book. I get the importance and the poignance, but it is more about racism than immigrant experience. No Es Sificiente - (Mexico) Actress talks about growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and how when she went to audition the criticism she would receive for not being "Mexican" enough for the roles. More an essay about "otherness" than immigration or the immigrant experience. Also very poignant and familiar to "others". Skittles - (Islam) Immigrant family moves to Dallas Texas from California. Youngest child is still in HS, other children are grown and did not move. Talks about the detrimental affect on youngest child and the guilt for moving to Tx (after Muslim ban) cultural. Very deep essay and a bit heart breaking. One of the best in the collection. Return to Macondo - (Puerto Rico) - the treatment and stereo types of Puerto Rico. Author feels like an immigrant in the US where she is a citizen based on Trumps expression of shithole countries and the treatment of the island after the hurricane. One thing though, Puerto Ricans are not immigrants, they are American citizens. This is an essay about bigotry, not immigrants. 244 Million - An oragami exercise that highlight the statistics associated with immigrants world wide. Very short and effective. How to Center Your Story - (Asia) author talks about the casual racism she encounters on her book tour and also noted a change in the air before and after election. (hide spoiler)] Overall an intelligent and impressive collection of essays. An interesting and important entry into the cultural perception that greets immigrants, particularly immigrants that are also people of color in America. My favorites were "Sidra", Luck of the Irish, Shithole Nation, Blonde Girls in Cheongsams, Tour Diary, and Skittles. I think that cutting a few of the essays would not have diminished the quality of the book. There was some repetition. Yet, I also think that the collection could have benefited from some additional voices from other parts of the globe. A worthwhile book with a lot of contributing authors you will be wanting to read more!! Solid 4 Stars Read on kindle

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    Look at me, reading nonfiction. Being all smart and educated and shit. Anyway, I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed a LOT of these stories, or should I call them essays now that I'm a fancy-schmancy adult reader? A lot of the chapters were 5/5 powerful, stirring, insightful, beautifully written and thought-provoking reads. I've even found a few authors that I know I definitely want to read more from now. However, not all of the entries were on Look at me, reading nonfiction. Being all smart and educated and shit. Anyway, I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review. I really enjoyed a LOT of these stories, or should I call them essays now that I'm a fancy-schmancy adult reader? A lot of the chapters were 5/5 powerful, stirring, insightful, beautifully written and thought-provoking reads. I've even found a few authors that I know I definitely want to read more from now. However, not all of the entries were ones that I enjoyed. A few read more like a textbook history lesson, some were hate-filled and racist and there was one that I found overwritten. Still, if you are interested in seeing life from the perspective of others, I highly recommend this book to you. Overall rating is 3.84 out of 5 (rounded up to 4 stars) based off of my individual enjoyment of each chapter, which is as follows: How to Write Iranian-America or The Last Essay by Porochista Khakpour - 5/5* Swimmer by Nicole Dennis-Benn - 5/5* Sidra (in 12 Movements) by Rahawa Haile - 5/5 On the Blackness of the Panther by Teju Cole - 3/5 How Not to Be by Priya Minhas - 4/5 After Migration: The Once and Future Kings by Wale Oyejide - 3/5 On Loneliness by Fatimah Asghar - 5/5 Chooey-Booey and Brown by Tejal Rao - 4/5 Luck of the Irish by Maeve Higgins - 5/5 Her Name was India by Krutika Mallikarjuna - 4/5 Shithole Nation by Jim St Germain - 5/5* Blond Girls in Cheongsams by Jenny Zhang - 5/5* The Naked Man by Chigozie Obioma - 4/5 Your Father's Country by Alexander Chee - 4/5 The Long Answer by Yann Mounir Demange - 4/5 An American, Told by Jean Hannah Edelstein - 5/5 On Being Kim Kardashian by Chimeme Suleyman - 4/5 Tour Diary by Basim Usmani - 1/5 Dispatches from the Languages by Daniel Jose Older - 4/5 Juana Azurduy Versus Christopher Columbus by Adrian & Sebastian Vikar Rojas - 2/5 No Es Suficiente by Dani Fernandez - 5/5 Skittles by Fatima Farheen Mirza - 5/5* Return to Macondo by Susanne Ramirez de Arellano - 3/5 244 Million by Mona Chalabi - 3/5 How to Center Your Own Story by Jade Chang - 4/5 *denotes favorites

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sonya

    You know that feeling when you finish a book and you want to give the book a really big hug? That’s how I felt about The Good Immigrant USA except I wanted to hug all 27 contributors/editors. I was able to read familiar names: Fatimah Asghar, Alexander Chee, Jenny Zhang, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Chigozie Obioma, while also discovering new names: Priya Minhas, Jim St. Germain, Daniel José Older, Jade Chang, and so many more. 26 writers reflect on America, grounded in their personal and family experienc You know that feeling when you finish a book and you want to give the book a really big hug? That’s how I felt about The Good Immigrant USA except I wanted to hug all 27 contributors/editors. I was able to read familiar names: Fatimah Asghar, Alexander Chee, Jenny Zhang, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Chigozie Obioma, while also discovering new names: Priya Minhas, Jim St. Germain, Daniel José Older, Jade Chang, and so many more. 26 writers reflect on America, grounded in their personal and family experiences of immigration, written in their own unique styles. One of the most beautiful things a book can do is to give a language to things you’ve felt and experienced but did not have the right words for - this collection did just that. Reading this also challenged my ideas about the boundaries of who the “immigrant” is, showing what a multitude of experiences “the good immigrant” really is. Writers tie in their personal stories without shying away from reckoning with colonization, imperialism, war, capitalism. It’s a collection about America but I learned a ton about countries all around the world. Immigration after all links all these histories and places together. In the last essay of the collection by Jade Chang (author of The Wangs v. The World), titled “How to Center Your Own Story,” Chang writes about how there’s this common refrain of gatekeepers, who say, “I liked it; I’m just not sure that other people will get it.” They suggest that there’s a universal story and that talking about race and culture requires explanation. Chang pushes back against this, writing, “Really, though, the more specific a moment is, the more it becomes relatable to a wide range of people.” I think Chang’s “let the specific become the universal” sums up this book’s power so well. It’s beautifully unapologetic, specific, and filled with different emotions and histories. And yet there is something deeply universal about searching for a better life for yourself and for your loved ones. Moving across borders to do so is brave, beautiful, and simply human.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

    This is a super compelling collection of essays, all engaging with the immigrant experience and what that has meant and looked like for each of the writers. Stand outs for include the contributions by Alexander Chee and Fatima Farheen Mirza. Great companion read to books like Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli, Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester, and American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    In the time of Donald Trump’s xenophobia and immigration-related policies, 26 Immigrant writers, artists and scholars come together in one amazing collection of essays to give us a snapshot in time of what life is like for someone who is not white and from the America. Well-known contributors that I was excited to read more on are Khakpour, Alexander Chee, Daniel José Elder, Teju Cole, and Nicole Dennis-Benn. All these stories being told are all worth learning from. I highly recommend this colle In the time of Donald Trump’s xenophobia and immigration-related policies, 26 Immigrant writers, artists and scholars come together in one amazing collection of essays to give us a snapshot in time of what life is like for someone who is not white and from the America. Well-known contributors that I was excited to read more on are Khakpour, Alexander Chee, Daniel José Elder, Teju Cole, and Nicole Dennis-Benn. All these stories being told are all worth learning from. I highly recommend this collection.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Almost every essay in this collection worked for me on a craft and content level. There are so many stories here, and so many ways of telling them. And so many amazing writers! I came for Alexander Chee, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Jenny Zhang, Rahawa Haile, Porochista Khakpour, and Maeve Higgins. I loved all of their essays, and discovered some new favorite writers along the way, especially Tejal Rao, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Susanne Ramírez de Allerano, and Jade Chang. ‘Swimmer,’ ‘Chooey-Booey and Brown, Almost every essay in this collection worked for me on a craft and content level. There are so many stories here, and so many ways of telling them. And so many amazing writers! I came for Alexander Chee, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Jenny Zhang, Rahawa Haile, Porochista Khakpour, and Maeve Higgins. I loved all of their essays, and discovered some new favorite writers along the way, especially Tejal Rao, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Susanne Ramírez de Allerano, and Jade Chang. ‘Swimmer,’ ‘Chooey-Booey and Brown,’ ‘Your Father’s Country,’ ‘Skittles’ and ‘Return to Macondo’ are definite standouts for me. I will be seeking out the writing of the writers I didn’t know before whose essays moved the hell out of me. I highly recommend this book to every human. If nothing else, I’m sure you’ll find a writer you like here. I also want to check out the UK version now! It came out in 2016, same editors. Thanks to Little, Brown for the ARC! Opinions are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    I read this for the OWLs readathon and I'm glad to have got to it as I loved the original Good Immigrant collection which I read a while ago, and this I picked up instantly when I saw it was out. This is a book with stories of immigrants' experiences living in the USA as an immigrant or second/third generation immigrant. Their stories are personal, raw and emotional. I do think this is a collection that would have more impact on a US citizen, because of the references the reader could relate to, I read this for the OWLs readathon and I'm glad to have got to it as I loved the original Good Immigrant collection which I read a while ago, and this I picked up instantly when I saw it was out. This is a book with stories of immigrants' experiences living in the USA as an immigrant or second/third generation immigrant. Their stories are personal, raw and emotional. I do think this is a collection that would have more impact on a US citizen, because of the references the reader could relate to, but the topic and feelings are universal and I think everyone can understand some of the wrongness of these experiences. Each contributor brought something new and each story had its own message, tone and flair, and every one is worth reading. Overall, another very strong collection and I'd recommend it. 4*s.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    I read one of these essays daily, and as with all anthologies, there are some I liked better than others, but there was at least a nugget I took away from each. Immigrants come here for all kinds of reasons, and immigrants are not just people of color. I read somewhere once that there are biological/evolutionary reasons to fear/hate the other - just look at what happened to most native peoples when others showed up as an example - but we are living in a moment of intense "othering" that should c I read one of these essays daily, and as with all anthologies, there are some I liked better than others, but there was at least a nugget I took away from each. Immigrants come here for all kinds of reasons, and immigrants are not just people of color. I read somewhere once that there are biological/evolutionary reasons to fear/hate the other - just look at what happened to most native peoples when others showed up as an example - but we are living in a moment of intense "othering" that should concern us all. This collection, while not perfect, is a great place to start if we are seeking to engage in dialog and not demonization. For a wonderful and insightful review, I recommend checking out Monica's thoughts here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... My faves: How Not To Be, Blonde Girls in Cheongsams, The Long Answer, Skittles, and Luck of the Irish.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    If there is a list of "Books Every White American Should Read," this should be on it. There is a lot of nuance that's absent from the mainstream immigration conversation, and an anthology like this highlights that, in these essays on wide-ranging immigrant experiences. It should be common sense that a Mexican immigrant doesn't face the same challenges or treatment as, say, an Indian immigrant, and that comes through very clearly in these writers' stories. I also appreciate many of these essays s If there is a list of "Books Every White American Should Read," this should be on it. There is a lot of nuance that's absent from the mainstream immigration conversation, and an anthology like this highlights that, in these essays on wide-ranging immigrant experiences. It should be common sense that a Mexican immigrant doesn't face the same challenges or treatment as, say, an Indian immigrant, and that comes through very clearly in these writers' stories. I also appreciate many of these essays speaking to the first-gen experience, as that is also a very specific group of people that deals with very specific identity challenges and isolation. Many writers I love are in this book, and it's honestly a little heartwarming reading not only their stories of struggle, but their stories of success as creatives, despite the deck being stacked against them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Papatia Feauxzar

    Finally, an American immigrant book I can relate to.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Miz

    this felt even more powerful and poignant than the original british anthology, in part because of its driven politics (i believe the UK anthology was published post-Brexit but pre-Trump), in part because of the diversity of its writers in ethnicity, style, experience and occupation, which made every piece feel even more focused. it's very hard to pick a favourite (or even multiple favourites) because everything pretty much blew me away. it's also serves as a good introduction to authors of color this felt even more powerful and poignant than the original british anthology, in part because of its driven politics (i believe the UK anthology was published post-Brexit but pre-Trump), in part because of the diversity of its writers in ethnicity, style, experience and occupation, which made every piece feel even more focused. it's very hard to pick a favourite (or even multiple favourites) because everything pretty much blew me away. it's also serves as a good introduction to authors of color that i was unfamiliar with before – i forsee lots of additions to my to-read list!

  12. 5 out of 5

    what.rona.reads

    This timely collection of essays gives a fresh and much needed perspective of what being a first or second generation immigrant in America entails. Some shared stories from their childhood, others gave a quick history lesson on the colonization of their country of origin and others spoke of life with Trump in office. All of them were impactful. I recognized a few of the authors names but I also found a whole handful of new authors, comedians and journalists whose work I want to check out. One th This timely collection of essays gives a fresh and much needed perspective of what being a first or second generation immigrant in America entails. Some shared stories from their childhood, others gave a quick history lesson on the colonization of their country of origin and others spoke of life with Trump in office. All of them were impactful. I recognized a few of the authors names but I also found a whole handful of new authors, comedians and journalists whose work I want to check out. One thing this book has motivated me to do is to get a big map and learn all the countries of the world. I’m done with the mindset that America is all that matters.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hesper

    Incredibly rich and informative series of essays that also offer you fresh insights to consider and visualize. I learned a lot and loved this collection. It is a groundbreaking nonfiction series by 26 authors that speak about their perceptions and what it meant for them to have resided in the United States, not to be a native citizen. Each essay by the authors was superb, distressing, and informative. I've learned a lot from this collection and I encourage native American born readers to pick thi Incredibly rich and informative series of essays that also offer you fresh insights to consider and visualize. I learned a lot and loved this collection. It is a groundbreaking nonfiction series by 26 authors that speak about their perceptions and what it meant for them to have resided in the United States, not to be a native citizen. Each essay by the authors was superb, distressing, and informative. I've learned a lot from this collection and I encourage native American born readers to pick this book up.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary Adeson

    I always appreciate anthologies, as they provides the opportunity to read works from writers I’m yet to discover. Most importantly from The Good Immigrant USA I’ve been able to read stories from perspectives/voices I haven’t typically read. I had high expectations from reading The Good Immigrant (the UK version), however the reason the US version gets a 4 rather than a 5 is because there were probably one or two stories which I just struggled to read. As a result I put the book down and had to s I always appreciate anthologies, as they provides the opportunity to read works from writers I’m yet to discover. Most importantly from The Good Immigrant USA I’ve been able to read stories from perspectives/voices I haven’t typically read. I had high expectations from reading The Good Immigrant (the UK version), however the reason the US version gets a 4 rather than a 5 is because there were probably one or two stories which I just struggled to read. As a result I put the book down and had to start over. Should this happen to you, my advise is just skip ahead to the next story/essay. The authors stories/essays in the collection which really stood out and I really found myself pondering over were Skittles by Fatima Farheen Mirza and Tour Dairy by Basim Usmani. Their experiences I felt I was yet hear or have read anywhere before and their experiences really saddens me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shagufta

    Two years ago I read #thegoodimmigrant, an incredible collection of essays from the UK that was my favourite book of that year. This book, published in March 2019 is a new collection by the same creators featuring 26 writers (including some v familiar/famous names on the list) reflecting on America. The collection is not my favourite book of the year but features some truly stunning essays (essays by Fatimah Asghar, Jade Chang, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Porochista Khakpour, Wale Oyejide, Chigozie Obi Two years ago I read #thegoodimmigrant, an incredible collection of essays from the UK that was my favourite book of that year. This book, published in March 2019 is a new collection by the same creators featuring 26 writers (including some v familiar/famous names on the list) reflecting on America. The collection is not my favourite book of the year but features some truly stunning essays (essays by Fatimah Asghar, Jade Chang, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Porochista Khakpour, Wale Oyejide, Chigozie Obioma and others were particular standout essays for me) but in general because this book is also about America’s footprint in the world, there were also essays with a lot of background, historical information or that talked about Trump more deeply that I found less engaging than the more personal narratives. (In some ways the UK collection more personal, more familiar). Overall though this is an outstanding collection and I recommend. If not every essay resonates, the ones that speak to you warrant reading this book in its entirety.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna Baillie-Karas

    Superb collection of essays by writers who are immigrants to USA (or children of). Different backgrounds & diverse styles - from personal to historical & sometimes funny. But some common threads: all bright, creative people with much to offer but have been seen as outsiders. All tackle this ‘othering’ & their parents’ home culture - so question their own identity. A poignant sense of trying to belong. It’s a bracing read. Highly recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Iva

    These 26 essays are by mostly young writers. They are often influenced by the experiences they have at school with teachers and of course peers who judge them harshly for being different. These deeply personal stories are by unknown and some known writers: Alexander Chee and Teju Cole. One surprise was by an Irish immigrant who was living in the country illegally. Some excellent writing will encourage readers to find more work by these authors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauri

    I was very disappointed in this book. It seemed to be a contest as to who could be more erudite than the next and devoid of the true emotion that one would expect from a collection of works by modern immigrants.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    thoughts coming shortly

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carlos HS

    Mostly dry and repetitive ideas mixing relatively few insights, with a lot of whining and lack of depth. Quite typical of the new American grievance culture.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    With any collection of this type, your enjoyment of and engagement with the various pieces will naturally vary. But this is one of the best I've read as far as being consistently positive for both of those factors. I really...maybe enjoyed isn't quite the right word, perhaps I'll say appreciated...nearly every essay in here. Many of them were beautifully written, thought-provoking, bold, and stentorian (if such a word can apply to something written down, which...sure, why not, it's 2020, rules d With any collection of this type, your enjoyment of and engagement with the various pieces will naturally vary. But this is one of the best I've read as far as being consistently positive for both of those factors. I really...maybe enjoyed isn't quite the right word, perhaps I'll say appreciated...nearly every essay in here. Many of them were beautifully written, thought-provoking, bold, and stentorian (if such a word can apply to something written down, which...sure, why not, it's 2020, rules don't matter anymore). There is a variety of immigrant experiences represented, people of different backgrounds, identities, status, etc. Some were more lyrically written, others much more straightforward, but I found something valuable and interesting in nearly all of them. Honestly, there were maybe only two or three that didn't work for me, and those certainly weren't bad in any sense, just not as engaging or accessible. I think this is a crucial work for those of us who are not immigrants ourselves or children of immigrants to read, most especially those of us who are of white Western descent. Being Jewish, my family history of course includes persecution (to put it mildly) and the whole "Oops, sorry, we're all full here in the States, can't come in" bullshit. And while as a group we haven't typically experienced the same kind of targeted violence and ostracizing from the government here (I say typically because..............Trump, Charlottesville, need I say more, I think not), we have been on the terrifying receiving end of virulent hatred and physical attacks, certainly during the last four years but just as certainly for decades before. So while I'm not an immigrant, and neither were either of my parents or any of my grandparents, I can to a certain extent sympathize with some of the experiences represented here, and can deeply empathize with others. My favorite essays: How to Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay by Porochista Khakpour On the Blackness of the Panther by Teju Cole How Not to Be by Priya Minhas Dispatches From the Language Wars by Daniel José Older Skittles by Fatima Farheen Mirza How to Center Your Own Story by Jade Chang

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carol Douglas

    In this book, immigrant writers tell about their experiences with the United States. All of the essays seem to have been written since Trump was elected. As the title indicates, these are "model" immigrants, intellectuals (and a punk band member). Some of them are the children of immigrants rather than immigrants themselves. The writers and their families come mostly from Africa and Asia. One immigrant from Ireland tells how different her experience was because she was white. There are stories a In this book, immigrant writers tell about their experiences with the United States. All of the essays seem to have been written since Trump was elected. As the title indicates, these are "model" immigrants, intellectuals (and a punk band member). Some of them are the children of immigrants rather than immigrants themselves. The writers and their families come mostly from Africa and Asia. One immigrant from Ireland tells how different her experience was because she was white. There are stories about problems getting into the country and experiences of racism once inside it. Immigrant parents have tried to instill in their children a desire to go along to get along, and not to emphasize their backgrounds. Fatima Farheen Mirza, whose novel A Place for Us I read and reviewed earlier this year, tells how her father begged her to write about a white family, not her own, because he feared no one would read a book about Asian Americans. After Donald Trump Jr. said that immigrants were like a handful of Skittles, only three of which are poisoned and will kill you, neighbors sent their child to Mirza's home and handed her mother a bag of Skittles. But the stories of racism extend back far beyond the current administration. Some writers talk about the colonial past and about how museums in Europe and the United States put Indigenous People on exhibit. I learned that Argentina deliberately set about attracting as many European settlers as possible and killing Indigenous people. Some of the writers are annoyed at the presumption that everyone wants to be "American." Some have mixed identifies and feel they don't fit in anywhere. Some Africans feel they have to learn to be "American Black" to live in the United States. This is a worthwhile and timely book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    This is a really varied and diverse collection of essays on what it is to be an immigrant in the United States. There is such a variety of experiences and backgrounds, which is essential to understanding what immigration actually is, and not pigeonholing immigrants as a certain type of person. I really valued reading about each author's experiences, and it was interesting to come across some through-lines, like the influence of the Black Panther movie. There were many authors included whose work This is a really varied and diverse collection of essays on what it is to be an immigrant in the United States. There is such a variety of experiences and backgrounds, which is essential to understanding what immigration actually is, and not pigeonholing immigrants as a certain type of person. I really valued reading about each author's experiences, and it was interesting to come across some through-lines, like the influence of the Black Panther movie. There were many authors included whose work I know and love, and many new voices—I really appreciated the balance where I could go from familiar voice to something completely new. My favorite essays were the ones that explored personal history and acted more as literary memoir than direct argument towards one idea or the other. The following essays were my favorites: How To Write Iranian-America, or The Last Essay by Porochista Khakpour Sides (in 12 Movements) by Rahawa Haile On Loneliness by Fatima Asghar “Chooey-Booey and Brown” by Tejal Rao Her Name was India by Krutika Mallikarjuna On Being Kim Kardashian by Chimene Suleyman Dispatches from the Language Wars by Daniel José Older Skittles by Fatima Farheen Mirza I would recommend this collection to anyone looking to better understand American society, and get past the stereotypical and inaccurate depictions of what an immigrant is, as portrayed by certain politicians, news and other media. After all, America was built by immigrants—it's long past time to get over any bias one has against them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This book is a great combination of essays from different writers regarding their personal experiences in the United States. Not every essay resonated with me, but that added to overall beauty of this book; there’s bound to be an essay or two that has a sense of familiarity for someone. I loved many of the essays throughout and really enjoyed reading this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    The Good Immigrant USA, edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, is the American follow-up to Shukla's previous edited collection, The Good Immigrant, which focused on Britain. Both collections feature a range of essays from immigrants to these countries talking about their own experiences and challenging stereotypes, but for me at least, the two books have a very different feel. The Good Immigrant was more personal and more anecdotal, and it was definitely funnier; while there were, of cou The Good Immigrant USA, edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman, is the American follow-up to Shukla's previous edited collection, The Good Immigrant, which focused on Britain. Both collections feature a range of essays from immigrants to these countries talking about their own experiences and challenging stereotypes, but for me at least, the two books have a very different feel. The Good Immigrant was more personal and more anecdotal, and it was definitely funnier; while there were, of course, essays that didn't employ humour at all, many other contributors used it to effect to make serious points, such as comedian Nish Kumar's 'Is Nish Kumar A Confused Muslim?', about becoming a racist meme, and actor 'Miss L's' 'The Wife of A Terrorist', which explained how, as a brown woman, she's always typecast as a traditional Middle Eastern wife, often of a terrorist. In contrast, The Good Immigrant USA takes a more literary and a less journalistic tone, and many of the essays require more sustained effort, although the effort is repaid. It feels also more wide-ranging, reflecting the US's racial mix, from Adrián and Sebastián Villar Rojas's essay about the history of Argentina's colonial encounters, 'Juana Azurdy Versus Christopher Columbus', to Porochista Kapoor's meditation on becoming pigeonholed by your ethnic identity, 'How to Write Iranian-American, Or The Last Essay'. There's also a didactic earnestness in a few of the essays in this collection that's missing from their British counterparts: for example, Jim St. Germain's essay on Haiti, 'Shithole Nation'. None of this makes one collection superior or inferior, but they aren't simply transatlantic versions of each other. The Good Immigrant had more of an impact on me, but I think this was partly the result of having read much less about race and immigration when I encountered it. One feature of The Good Immigrant USA which wasn't present in The Good Immigrant is the inclusion of essays by white or white-passing immigrants as well as ethnic minorities. This perhaps says something about the two countries' attitudes to immigration, but I also found this a helpful and interesting addition to The Good Immigrant USA, allowing the writers to explicitly reflect on white privilege while also reflecting the experience of growing up caught between two cultures. Maeve Higgins writes well about the long tradition of Irish immigration to the US ('Luck of the Irish'), but I was particularly captivated by Jean Hannah Edelstein's 'An American, Told' (I also loved her memoir This Really Isn't About You), which focused on having a British mother and Jewish father, and growing up between Britain and the US. Personally, having also moved between the two countries, I identified with what she said about not really feeling British or American. Although I fall much more on the British side of the equation, I still sometimes fall through those cracks (as a recent discussion about 'frowns' on Twitter reminded me; I'm on the Americans' side with that one!).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kamila Kunda

    I loved the UK essays in “The Good Immigrant” so much that when the US version was published I immediately bought it and read it. Twenty six essays by authors of various origin - Iranian, Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, Korean, to name some - portray the United States in grim colours as a country divided and unequal like none other. The book was written shortly after Trump was elected and authors’ fear about the future is palpable. The US was built on exploitation of others for the benefit of the few, I loved the UK essays in “The Good Immigrant” so much that when the US version was published I immediately bought it and read it. Twenty six essays by authors of various origin - Iranian, Chinese, Indian, Nigerian, Korean, to name some - portray the United States in grim colours as a country divided and unequal like none other. The book was written shortly after Trump was elected and authors’ fear about the future is palpable. The US was built on exploitation of others for the benefit of the few, and American Dream, the notion of the land of freedom and meritocracy are myths almost no one believes anymore. Knowing all I do about that country, nothing in the essays has surprised me or shed a new light on issues I had already been familiar with. Yet, I believe books like this one are extremely important as they show that othering takes place in the US in every aspect of life and does not apply to only one particular group of immigrants. Racism and discrimination have been bread and butter of every author’s everyday life, regardless of whether they are second generation immigrants and grew up with no sense of belonging to the nation which for so long claimed to accept everyone or whether they arrived recently, with heads full of dreams, usually shattered shortly upon arrival; it’s enough to experience the treatment at the airport or see how poor American cities look. What saddened me most reading these essays is how low the bar for wellbeing in the US the authors have set. Many came to that country believing, or were told to believe, growing up there, in equality, in ability to realise their dreams, in freedom to do what they want. But life has made them strip these dreams to the end up with the bare minimum, the mere basics of existence. They talk of the wish to speak their mother tongue in public without fear, about equal opportunities on the job market. But as Jean Hannah Edelstein, one of the contributors, said: “Maybe we all just dream of what it would be like to live in America, allowed to just be”. And this is heart-breaking that what can be read between the lines of all these essays is a plea: allow us to just be.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ming

    For anthologies and collections of short stories, I usually name the few that struck me as poignant or somehow special.  I found it especially difficult to pick some to list here because almost all 26 pieces were notable (The Irish immigrant had a strangely pedantic tone at times. And there is one by an author I've DNF'd before and her piece here had me roll my eyes to the very back of my head).  The stories depicted difficult and painful situations, long-lasting ones that scarred or marked the For anthologies and collections of short stories, I usually name the few that struck me as poignant or somehow special.  I found it especially difficult to pick some to list here because almost all 26 pieces were notable (The Irish immigrant had a strangely pedantic tone at times. And there is one by an author I've DNF'd before and her piece here had me roll my eyes to the very back of my head).  The stories depicted difficult and painful situations, long-lasting ones that scarred or marked the authors.  They were intimate and so clear-eyed and unflinching in their upfront telling...completely forthright while being so vulnerable.  The stories demonstrate clearly how brave immigrants and refugees are and how their experiences can be traumatic. I was deeply touched by reading this book. Of the pack of 25, the standouts were written by Priya Minhas, Fatimah Asghar, Tejal Rao, Jim St. Germain, Jenny Zhang, and Basim Usmani.  And having read "Good Immigrant," I want to the British precursor to this book. Lastly, I think this title would go nicely with "The Displaced: Refugees Writers on Refugee Lives," edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    A mixed bag but I loved the diversity of voices and experiences. Standout essays from Teju Cole, Priya Minhas, Alexander Chee, Adrian and Sebastian Villar Rojas, and Susanne Ramirez de Arellano.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joshunda Sanders

    Such an important and timely collection, which displays in shimmering beauty and anger, joy and love all the paradoxes that come with one’s status as an American.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nikos Dunno

    A few of those essays deserve more than a perfect score, but as a collection I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. I wanted to love this so much more! A few of those essays deserve more than a perfect score, but as a collection I couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed. I wanted to love this so much more!

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