The moving lifetime relationship between a father and a daughter, seen through the prism of global immigration and the contemporary refugee experience.
An Iranian girl escapes to America as a child, but her father stays behind. Over twenty years, as she transforms from confused immigrant to overachieving Westerner to sophisticated European transplant, daughter and father know each other only from their visits: four crucial visits over two decades, each in a different international city. The longer they are apart, the more their lives diverge, but also the more each comes to need the other’s wisdom and, ultimately, rescue. Meanwhile, refugees of all nationalities are flowing into Europe under troubling conditions. Wanting to help, but also looking for a lost sense of home, our grown-up transplant finds herself quickly entranced by a world that is at once everything she has missed and nothing that she has ever known. Will her immersion in the lives of these new refugees allow her the grace to save her father?
REFUGE charts the deeply moving lifetime relationship between a father and a daughter, seen through the prism of global immigration. Beautifully written, full of insight, charm, and humor, the novel subtly exposes the parts of ourselves that get left behind in the wake of diaspora and ultimately asks: Must home always be a physical place, or can we find it in another person?
REFUGE was published on 11th July 2017 by Riverhead.
“Beautifully elegiac, Refuge brings into focus the entire experience of emigration… Nayeri is brilliant on parental imperfections and the negotiations children make with their families, and she offers a remarkably textured portrayal of drug addiction and of everyday Iran that defies news-media stereotypes.”
—Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves
“Dina Nayeri’s prose has something all too rare in books these days: a wild, beating heart. Read this book to feel your own heart expand.”
—Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life
“For anyone who has wondered about the distance between contemporary American and Iranian lives and thought, this book is essential reading. If any book can close that distance, this one can.”
—Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love
“Deeply felt . . . I was completely taken up by this book–invigorated by the intelligence, and inspired by the sensual descriptions of Iranian food and Amsterdam life. I’ll keep this one in my bookshelf of favorites.”
—Alice Elliott Dark, author of Naked to the Waist, Think of England, and In the Gloaming
“A poignant reflection on the plight of refugees… Nayeri uses gentle humor and evocative prose to illuminate the power of familial bonds and to bestow individuality on those anonymous people caught between love of country and need for refuge. A beautiful addition to the burgeoning literature of exile.”
–Library Journal (starred review)
“Richly imagined and frequently moving… [manages] various threads—the personal, the political, the cultural, the generational—deftly, and the result is poignant, wise, and often funny…a vital, timely novel about what it means to seek refuge.”
“Set against landscapes of political unrest, Nayeri’s novel of a daughter and father seeking to reconcile their long-distance perceptions of family offers a captivating, multilayered exploration of lives caught between worlds.”
“Nayeri’s prose sings while moving nimbly with equal parts seriousness and humor.”