Books on Immigrant Experiences


  • Drown by Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz’s debut short story collection follows snippets of the main character, Yunior. Set in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, these stories show the coming of age of a young Dominican immigrant. Snippets of his family life that have formed who he becomes, shows the complexities of being human. After reading Drown, make sure to follow up with The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  


  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Follows the life of Gogol an Indian-American man that struggles with his identity growing up. He feels especially uncomfortable with his unique name in where he decides to transform himself and adapt to another lifestyle and identity different from his immigrant family. Through his ups and downs through his personal life, he grows into himself and reflects on his upbringing. Specifically his romantic relationships that greatly impacted his reflection of himself. Lahiri brings in the struggle of identity for immigrant families.


  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The friendship between a wealthy boy and a servant’s son is set in Afghanistan and it’s political turmoil. It follows Amir as he struggles with conflict and guilt about his friendship for years. Betrayal, sacrifices, love, and redemption are some of the common themes. A book that tugs at your heart and intersects war, friendship, and immigration.


  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A young couple, Ifemelu and Obinze, in love and in hope of moving from Nigeria to the West struggle with the reality when one has the opportunity to move to the United States. Ifemelu takes the opportunity with the hope that Obinze could join them in the future. 9/11 closes that opportunity for Obinze and he sets off to live in London as an undocumented immigrant. Fifteen years later, they reunite back in Nigeria. Americanah beautifully intertwines two different immigrant experiences in one story.


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