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 grows from confused immigrant to overachieving Westerner to sophisticated European transplant, daughter and father only know each other 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?
“Reinvention may be a necessity for most exiles, but it does not always come naturally; the new identity can graft roughly onto the old. The strains and indignities that come with remaking a life are what give Refuge poignancy and relevance…Nayeri’s prose can be rich and colorful, bolts of words prettily unfurling…Refuge also has the kind of immediacy commonly associated with memoir, which lends it heft, intimacy, atmosphere.”
—New York Times
“Nayeri’s second novel is richly imagined and frequently moving in its descriptions of the neither-here-nor-there immigrant’s life…Nayeri manages these 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.”
“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