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Immigrant Nation

Classic and contemporary fiction about the immigrant experience in the United States.

Alvarez, Julia
How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents
15 short tales of the four Garcia sisters chronicle their quest to build identities within the tension between their wealthy Spanish-Dominican past and their new life in America.
Bell, Thomas
Out of This Furnace
This regional favorite studies four generations of a Slovak family working in the steel mills of Pittsburgh during the city's industrial heyday.
Cahan, Abraham
The Rise of David Levinsky
The classic story of a Russian Jewish man who leaves his homeland to rise from rags to riches in America.
Cruz, Angie
Let It Rain Coffee
A dramatic portrayal of the lives of an immigrant family from the Dominican Republic in contemporary New York City.
Diaz, Junot
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
This novel details the life of nerdy, overweight Oscar at Rutgers University and his dreams of becoming "the Dominican Tolkein." In striking street Spanglish, it also relates the tragic events of Oscar's mother's life in Trujillo's Dominican Republic.
Erdrich, Louise
The Master Butchers Singing Club
A splendid tale about the deep relationships formed between post-World War I German immigrants who settle in America.
Hijuelos, Oscar
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
In the 1940s, brothers Cesar and Nestor Castillo come to New York City with the goal of becoming mambo kings. They enjoy modest success including a guest appearance on "I Love Lucy." The novel follows the personal dreams of flashy Cesar, timid Nestor, and their friends and family.
Shafak, Elif
The Saint of Incipient Insanities
A comical and sometimes heartbreaking tale of three graduate students from Morocco, Turkey, and Spain assimilating to personal and cultural neuroses.
Sinclair, Upton
The Jungle
The famous story of the struggles of a Lithuanian migrant family and the horrid conditions of the early twentieth-century Chicago slaughterhouses.
Tyler, Anne
Digging to America
The story of an Iranian-American immigrant of 35 years who never fully feels at home in her adopted country until a chance encounter changes her life.

Updated: February 17, 2011