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Arlington Reads 2013 Collection Spotlight

Out of Bounds: More Stories of the Immigrant Experience

Junot Díaz and  Dinaw Mengestu, our featured Arlington Reads 2013 authors,  are just two of the talented writers who have tackled stories of immigration, dislocation, culture-clash, and identity in a new country:


Open City: A Novel
by Teju Cole

Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor doing his residency wanders aimlessly. The walks meet a need for Julius: they are a release from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and they give him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past.

But it is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.


warrior womanThe Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
by Maxine Hong Kingston

A Chinese American woman tells of the Chinese myths, family stories and events of her California childhood that have shaped her identity.




A Gesture Life
by Chang Rae Lee

The riveting story of a Japanese immigrant who leads a proper, decorous life in a New York suburb. As his life slowly unravels, he is transported back to his days as a medic in the Japanese army in World War II, and his obsessive love of a young comfort woman.



The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
by Heidi W. Durrow

Rachel is half-Danish and half-black, and after a family tragedy, she is sent to live with her African-American grandmother in Portland. Because she grew up feeling Danish, Rachel finds it especially difficult to fit in with the mostly black community she now lives in, and she can’t figure out whether to call herself black, biracial, or Danish — or what any of those terms mean.


Tell Us We’re Home
by Marina Budhos

Three immigrant girls from different parts of the world meet and become close friends in a small New Jersey town where their mothers have found domestic work, but their relationships are tested when one girl’s mother is accused of stealing a precious heirloom.



We the Animals
by Justin Torres

Three brothers tear their way through childhood– smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn–he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white–and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times. Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another.


The Arrival
by Shaun Tan

In this wordless graphic novel, a man leaves his homeland and sets off for a new country, where he must build a new life for himself and his family.



Monkey Bridge
by Lan Cao

Vietnamese monkey bridges, the delicate, fragile structures that span the narrow and wide rivers, the deltas and water-soaked rice paddies of the lush Vietnamese countryside. To cross monkey bridges requires agility and, more importantly, a sort of faith, an ability to “set aside the process itself in favor of seeing the act whole and complete. It could be dangerous, of course, but rivers had to be crossed, so why not pretend [to] do it with instinct and ease?” It is precisely this sort of balancing act that is required of Cao’s protagonists, Mai Nguyen and her mother, Thanh, Vietnamese refugees who arrive in America to negotiate a new life for themselves in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.


by Bettina Restrepo

Nora, a fifteen-year-old Mexican girl, faces the challenges of being an illegal immigrant in Texas when she and her mother cross the border in search of Nora’s father.




More About Ethiopia

More About the Dominican Republic


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