This week’s Riot Recommendation is sponsored by We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo.
Darling is only 10 years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo’s belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad.
But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America’s famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few.
As art imitates life, literature and history are filled with people who made the difficult decision to leave their homes, their communities, and all that is familiar in hopes of making a better life elsewhere. Whether they’re in pursuit of the American dream, refuge from violence and oppression, or simply a chance to start over, characters uproot themselves and undertake trying journeys, and they don’t always like what they find when they reach their destinations. This week, we want to know: what are your favorite books about the immigrant experience?