The author's background as a fiction writer informs this readable and relatable presentation of difficult topics, but don't expect any sugarcoating—Nayeri is unflinching when it comes to the realities of refugee life. The larger notion of the refugee story is considered, and Nayeri deftly explores the balance between truth and storytelling when it comes to the expectations of both the telling and the hearing of these accounts. She helps us see beyond a person's citizenship status to recognize their humanity, most affectingly questioning whether it's necessary to remove a person's dignity in order to help them ... A much-needed exploration of the refugee experience; Nayeri's writing will be welcomed by a wide audience.
Nayeri uses her first work of nonfiction to remind readers of the pain and horrors refugees face before and long after their settlement. It is timely, as President Trump has made barring refugees from the United States a priority, and the Western world is plagued with a surge in nativism. Nayeri combines her own experience with those of refugees she meets as an adult, telling their stories with tenderness and reverence.
Blistering in its unequivocal critiques of the legal systems that keep refugees in limbo, yet strikingly layered and nuanced in its storytelling, The Ungrateful Refugee is timely, unsettling, compassionate and deeply compelling.