@ Shaker Library
The Bookshelf: The Immigrant Experience In Fiction
American Dervish by Ayad Akhtar. Little, Brown & Co., 2012. Written by a first generation Pakistani-American from Milwaukee, this personal first
novel is a coming-of-age story about growing up Muslim in America.
The Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf. Henry Holt and Company, 2015. This graphic memoir is the unforgettable story of a nomadic childhood
spent in the shadows of three dictators. It is a remarkable account of an eccentric family in an absurd Middle East by a master cartoonist in a work
destined to stand alongside Maus and Persepolis.
The Arrival by Shaun Tan. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008. In his wordless novel, the author captures the struggles and joys of the immigrant
experience through clear, mesmerizing images that tell the story of a man who leaves his homeland and his family to build a better life.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez. Random House, 2014. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in
a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It’s also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt, love, and
responsibility is at this novel’s core.
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. Riverhead Books, 2017. In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet and embark on a furtive
affair in this unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage.
A Good Country by Laleh Khadivi. Berkley, 2017. A 14-year-old, straight-A student takes his first hit of pot and, in as long as it takes to inhale and
exhale, he is transformed from the high-achieving son of Iranian immigrants into a happy-go-lucky stoner. Within a year, he and his girlfriend are
making their way to Syria to be part of a Muslim nation rising from the ashes of the civil war.
In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar. Dial Press, 2006. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this debut novel tracks the effects of Libyan
strongman Khadafy’s 1969 September revolution on the el-Dawani family.
The Last Days of Café Leila by Donia Bijan. Algonquin Books, 2017. Set against the backdrop of Iran’s rich, turbulent history, this is a powerful story
of food, family, and a bittersweet homecoming. While Iran may have changed, Café Leila, the Noor family restaurant, has for three generations been
serving as a refuge of laughter and solace for its makeshift family.
Minaret by Leila Aboulela. Grove Press, 2005. This is an engaging novel about a young Muslim woman – once privileged and secular in her native
land and now impoverished in London – who gradually embraces her orthodox faith and falls in love with her employer’s brother.
The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. Straus & Giroux, 2014. One of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists tells the story of Somalia’s
tragic civil war and eventual fall through the eyes of three women – a nine-year-old, a solitary widow, and a young female soldier.
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan. Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2017. On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee
dregs. Although she keeps her predictions to herself, they all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.
The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer. Harper Collins, 2008. Set in Tehran during the aftermath of the 1979 revolution, this novel follows the
Amin family as they cope with their father’s imprisonment. Terrified by his disappearance, his family must reconcile a new world of cruelty and chaos
with the collapse of everything they have known.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. Little, Brown & Company, 2013. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, this literary debut is the
powerful story of a young girl’s journey out of Zimbabwe to America. SL
30 SHAKERONLINE.COM | SUMMER 2017