Coming to America
A compelling chorus of voices that together depict the experiences of the many Vietnamese expatriates living in America.
Follow the struggles of Italian, Irish, African, Basque, Norwegian, Mexican, and German immigrants from 1890 to the present, all owners at some time of an accordion brought to America by its Sicilian maker.
A vividly told autobiographical account of the life of a child growing up in a family of migrant farm workers. It brings to life the day-to-day existence of people facing the obstacles of working in the fields and raising a family in an environment that is frequently hostile to those who have little education and speak another language. Assimilation brings its own problems, as the original culture is attenuated and the quality of family relationships is compromised, consequences that are not inevitable but are instead a series of choices made along the way. It is also the story of how the author overcame the disadvantages of this background and found herself.
"In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since. Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot. In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi). Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent."
"Iliana believed that by attending a college more than five hours from New York City, she could gain independence and escape the watchful eyes of her overprotective, religiously conservative parents. A disembodied voice that Iliana believes is her mother's haunts her nights with disturbing news about her sisters: Marina is careening toward a mental breakdown; Beatriz has disappeared; Rebecca continues in an abusive and dysfunctional marriage. Iliana reluctantly returns to New York City. In this dislocating urban environment, she confronts all the contradictions, superstitions, joys, and pains of someone caught between two cultures but who is intent on finding a home."
A German teenager arrives in Chicago in 1892 expecting the immigrant ideal of streets paved with gold. It isn't, of course, but what he does find, freedom, is worth more. Describes in lively detail America at the turn of the twentieth century - including the labor movement, women's rights movement, and the start of the motion picture industry.
An émigré Iranian colonel has spent most of his savings trying to enhance his daughter's chances of a good marriage. Once she is married, he spends the remaining funds on a house at an auction, unwittingly putting himself and his family in the middle of a legal tussle with the house's former owner. What begins as a legal struggle turns into a personal confrontation, with tragic results.
Mai Nguyen, a young Vietnamese woman, comes of age in America after leaving Saigon in 1975, while her mother has difficulty adjusting to life in their new country, in a moving novel filled with Vietnamese lore.
In 1857, when Chen Pan signs a contract that will take him from China “beyond the edge of the world to Cuba,” he has no idea that he will be enslaved on a sugarcane plantation . . . or that he will eventually, miraculously, escape his bonds and embark on a prosperous life in Havana’s Chinatown . . . or that he will buy a mulatto woman out of slavery and take her into his home and heart . . . or that he will end his long days in Havana, surrounded by children and grandchildren, as Cuban as he is Chinese.
"The monumental bestseller! Alex Haley recaptures his family's history in this drama of eighteenth-century slave Kunta Kinte and his descendants." The family story continues with Haley's Queen.
"As Margarita looks back on her long and full life, the novel recounts the lives, loves, and tragedies of the Montez O'Briens and their always complex relations with one another. It also follows Emilio through his days in Greenwich Village, the army, and Hollywood, where, as Monty O'Brien, he stars in grade-B detective and Tarzan movies and pals around with screen idols like Errol Flynn. Never altogether at peace in the overwhelming feminine world of his family, he searches restlessly for an elusive true love. And after an unhappy early marriage, Margarita herself finds the deepest passion of her life in extreme old age."
"...takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged marriage, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, the task of naming him betrays the vexed results of bringing old ways to the new world."
Contemporary story of two illegal Mexican immigrants' woes in California, contrasted with the lives of a politically correct, upscale couple with whom they briefly interact.
"At the heart of this multigenerational novel by critically acclaimed author Ursula Hegi is an intriguing question: If you knew that you could experience a significant love once in your life, would you want these years at the beginning or at the end?
"The Vision of Emma Blau is the luminous epic of a bicultural family filled with passion and aspirations, tragedy and redemption. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Stefan Blau flees Burgdorf, a small town in Germany, and comes to America in search of the vision that has grafted itself to his mind so tenaciously that he's dreamed of it every single night. The novel closes nearly a century later with Stefan's grand-daughter, Emma, and the legacy of his dream, a once-grand apartment house filled with the hidden truths of its inhabitants both past and present."