How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or be told that as an actress, the part you're most fitted to play is 'wife of a terrorist'? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can be only about white people? How does it feel to go 'home' to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick 'Other'?
Bringing together 21 exciting minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, The Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be 'other' in a country that doesn't seem to want you, doesn't truly accept you - however many generations you've been here - but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms.
Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour bad immigrants - job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees - until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and - most importantly - real.
Track 1: 'Namaste' - Nikesh Shukla
Track 2: 'A Guide to Being Black' - Varaidzo
Track 3: 'My Name Is My Name' - Chimene Suleyman
Track 4: 'Yellow' - Vera Chok
Track 5: 'Kendo Nagasaki and Me' - Daniel York Loh
Track 6: 'Window of Opportunity' - Himesh Patel
Track 7: 'Is Nish Kumar a Confused Muslim?' - Nish Kumar
Track 8: 'Forming Blackness Through a Screen' - Reni Eddo-Lodge
Track 9: 'Beyond "Good" Immigrants' - Wei Ming Kam
Track 10: '"You Can't Say That! Stories Have to Be About White people"' - Darren Chetty
Track 11: 'On Going Home' - Kieran Yates
Track 12: 'Flags' - Coco Khan
Track 13: 'Cutting Through (on Black Barbershops and Masculinity)' - Inua Ellams
Track 14: 'Wearing Where You're At: Immigration and UK Fashion' - Sabrina Mahfouz
Track 15: 'Airports and Auditions' - Riz Ahmed
Track 16: 'Perpetuating Casteism' - Sarah Sahim
Track 17: 'Shade' - Salena Godden
Track 18: 'The Wife of a Terrorist' - Miss L
Track 19: 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Tokenism' - Bim Adewunmi
Track 20: 'Death Is a Many-Headed Monster' - Vinay Patel
Track 21: 'The Ungrateful Country' - Musa Okwonga.
Full list of narrators: Nikesh Shukla, Varaidzo, Chimene Suleyman, Vera Chok, Daniel York Loh, Himesh Patel, Nish Kumar, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Wei Ming Kam, Darren Chetty, Kieran Yates, Coco Khan, Inua Ellams, Sabrina Mahfouz, Riz Ahmed, Sarah Sahim, Salena Godden, Miss L, Bim Adewunmi, Vinay Patel and Musa Okwonga.
The Good Immigrant is absolutely essential listening for anyone interested in what it means to be a human in the 21st century (or any century). It's a collection of essays by BAME writers living and working in Britain, but the stories are universal. Some of the essays are funny, others poignant, some shocking, others heartbreaking. All are interesting. It was wonderful hearing each author read their own essay; what a wonderful testament to the diverse talent of writers, thinkers, actors and educators in Britain today. I learnt a lot and it made me think. So very highly recommended; I listen to a lot of audiobooks but this is the best this year so far. I tore through it in two days, but I'm going to go back and listen to it again.
I would recommend that everybody should read this book. I chose it for my book club. I learnt a lot.
Empathy with other people in all sorts of situations can be tricky and these essays explain just how people feel so you can try to understand. So you can know albeit briefly what it's like to stand in their shoes. I was most struck by the last one and found it profoundly moving.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
As a child of immigrants, I found it heartening (angering at times!) and ultimately informative.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of The Good Immigrant to be better than the print version?
Both versions, the printed one and the audio one are very good.
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I did have an emotional reaction to the book because they named things I felt before and could not point at. Now I feel more informed. Even though it is a tough read, it is worthy. Finally, minorities have a voice.
I loved hearing all theses and learnt a lot. Nish Kumar's essay was my favourite, very well delivered.
I did not know what to expect, and was surprised by the stories and experience of being an immigrant in England. Manny of the aspects resembled my upbringing and the obstacles of being an citizen living in England. This was so far reaching of the truth of racial discrimination - an educational insight of immorality of colour. I will definitely recommend this book to friends and family. A compulsory read for all young and old.
I loved it and will listen to it again. As an immigrant in the UK there are many things I am afraid to say or point out to my white friends about systemic racism in case they don't get it. This is a good book to recommend if you feel the way I do.
Interesting essays which I listened to in order of sequence. It was refreshing to hear diverse non-white voices, particularly the Asian (not Indian )contributions. However, by the last essay I was disappointed that so many African and Asian heritage contributors were so preoccupied, to the point of neuroticism, with the views, actions and acceptance of their white contemporaries. I appreciate that racism is alive and thriving but I think an intra-racial as opposed to inter-racial meditation on race would be far more interesting and enlightening.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I'm Latina (from Chile) living in London. Although I didn't heared any Latin American stories, I identified with this book so much! For me, " ... language is the great battles to fight, and for many it's a war you always feel like you're losing. Even when you get the language, unless you shed your accent, you're continually reminded of your difference"
Loved this. Such talented and insightful writing. I'm telling everyone about it! Bring on another one!
Really good essays and works well as an audio book. I wish the authors said their names at the start of their essay though, as I'd like to find more of their work.