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Refuge: A Novel

Refuge: A Novel


Refuge: A Novel

About the Book

“Rich and colorful… [Refuge] has the kind of immediacy commonly associated with memoir, which lends it heft, intimacy, atmosphere.” –New York Times

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?

Product Details

On sale: July 10, 2018
Page count: 336 Pages
ISBN: 9780399573255

Author Bio

Dina Nayeri is the author of the acclaimed viral essay “The Ungrateful Refugee,” published in The Guardian in 2017, and the novel A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, which was translated into fourteen languages. A graduate of Princeton, Harvard, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the O. Henry Prize, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Bogliasco Foundation, and several other artist residencies.


"[Nayeri's] exploration of the exile’s predicament is tender and urgent." –The New Yorker

“Rich and colorful… [Refuge] has the kind of immediacy commonly associated with memoir, which lends it heft, intimacy, atmosphere.” –New York Times

"Crystalline, vivid, moving, and without pretensions, Nayeri’s writing is fluid and spare…Refuge is a timely novel, about a theme that touches and moves so many, no matter where you are from." –Los Angeles Review of Books

“[An] urgent, resonating contemporary story, highlighting today’s scattered, displaced, lost, all-forced-to-be refugees in search of the titular refuge... Nayeri carefully illuminates the plight of the ever-searching, never-belonging global wanderer.” –The Christian Science Monitor

“As the daughter of an immigrant father, the cultural divides that can exist within families is always on my mind. I love stories that explore questions of home, a central theme of Refuge. How do we relate to the homes of our parents, especially if they aren’t ours? How do we build homes when we haven’t left the old ones freely?” –Elle 

"Dina Nayeri focuses on the relationship between an Iranian father and daughter as they explore the experience of exile from different sides of the world and there is so much beauty and pain expressed in her prose... I’ll be recommending it to everyone I know. It’s stunning." –Buzzfeed

“The immigrant experience is at the heart of Dina Nayeri’s powerful novel of a family split by circumstances.” –Minneapolis Star-Tribune 

“A lush, brimming novel of exile.” –Newsday 

"Topical and urgent." –W Magazine

“A nuanced look at what it means to seek refuge; novels don’t get more timely than this.” –The Millions

“Dina Nayeri’s Refuge is a searing and moving meditation on the migrant experience…Against the ebb and flow of their separations and reconciliations, Nayeri charts the desperate journeys and the hopes and fates of other refugees of different nationalities seeking sanctuary in Europe. A timely read and a compelling one.” –Malcolm Forbes for The National

Refuge should be required summer reading in 2017… a beautiful and poignant portrait of the many different experiences of the displaced. A timely and necessary work... a vital read for anyone trying to understand what it means to lose and look for home.” –Bustle 

“Nayeri, who was an Iranian refugee herself, has written a novel that explores the current worldwide refugee crisis through the lens of a father-daughter relationship.” –Brightly 

“Niloo’s story, and her complex relationship with her father, expose a narrative of immigration that is necessary and nuanced.” –Read It Forward

"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.” —Kirkus

“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.” —Booklist

“A heart-splicing portrayal of the current refugee crisis...These are people who, seeking asylum, arrive in countries that aren’t their own but must be made inhabitable, if not home.” —The Riveter

“A nuanced and remarkably textured narrative about a world few of us experience.” –BookPage 

“Nayeri’s prose sings while moving nimbly with equal parts seriousness and humor.” —Publishers Weekly

"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 WaistThink of England, and In the Gloaming