The Home I Worked to Make: Voices from the New Syrian Diaspora (Hardcover)

The Home I Worked to Make: Voices from the New Syrian Diaspora By Wendy Pearlman Cover Image
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War forced millions of Syrians from their homes. It also forced them to rethink the meaning of home itself.

In 2011, Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom. Brutal government repression transformed peaceful protests into one of the most devastating conflicts of our times, killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions. The Home I Worked to Make takes Syria’s refugee outflow as its point of departure. Based on hundreds of interviews conducted across more than a decade, it probes a question as intimate as it is universal: What is home? With gripping immediacy, Syrians now on five continents share stories of leaving, losing, searching, and finding (or not finding) home. Across this tapestry of voices, a new understanding emerges: home, for those without the privilege of taking it for granted, is both struggle and achievement. Recasting “refugee crises” as acts of diaspora-making, The Home I Worked to Make challenges readers to grapple with the hard-won wisdom of those who survive war and to see, with fresh eyes, what home means in their own lives.

About the Author

Wendy Pearlman is professor of political science at Northwestern University. She speaks Arabic and is the author of five books on the Middle East, including We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria, which was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

Praise For…

Pearlman weaves these tales together beautifully, artfully teasing out their commonalities, complexities, and contradictions...effectively center[ing] the voices of refugees, drawing unexpected and incisive conclusions from her rich data... A stunningly curated text that strikes at the core of what it means to exist as a person in the world.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This moving account from political scientist Pearlman... is a haunting rumination on what it means to belong somewhere.
— Publisher’s Weekly

In this new offering, Pearlman pulls together reflections on the meaning of home as explored by over seventy contributors. The interviews vary in length, style, tone, and topic, but individual voices come through vividly as people relate their experiences and share their feelings.... These compelling testimonials deserve a wide audience.
— Booklist

The Home I Worked to Make is an absolutely vital book, unflinching in its commitment to the testimony of people much of the privileged world has chosen to forget. In an effort to explore a central question of twenty-first-century life—when one’s home is lost, what takes its place? —Wendy Pearlman turns to the insights and experiences of displaced and exiled Syrians, people who have gone through this turmoil first-hand. The result is a compendium of oral histories at once honest, instructive and devastating, collected through the tireless efforts of one of the most intellectually and morally astute thinkers working today.
— Omar El Akkad, best-selling author of American War and What Strange Paradise

As much as writing about prison is writing about freedom, talking about exile is talking about home, lost ones as well as newly found ones. This book shows us Syrians, scattered across so many countries, struggling to own the world. It is a book about journeys, loss, and change, but also about settling down and emancipation. Many Syrians opened their hearts to the author of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled. In The Home I Worked to Make, Wendy Pearlman again guides us through their stories in simple and elegant language, with an accessible and lucid style, and her characteristic touch of humanity. This is a book for everyone in this progressively Syrianized world.

— Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian dissident and author of The Impossible Revolution

Wendy Pearlman gives us the chance to get the story from the source: refugees themselves. Her book is an engaging read from start to finish, humanizing so many who have been dehumanized. These stories are an important reminder about how we should be treating refugees who come into our countries. By working together, we create a better environment for all of us, but by refusing to show compassion, we create a darker, more challenging world. The Syrians who have come to our countries have so much to offer; they make our societies even better because they're in it. Sadly for Syria, the loss of these incredible people is our gain—if we let it be.
— Atia Abawi, foreign correspondent and author of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

When I opened this book, I expected to learn a lot about Syria; I didn't expect to learn so much about the meaning of home. Individually, these are urgent stories, beautifully crafted in simple, elegant prose. Collectively, they are a powerful reflection on home, on Syria, and on the inner struggles of its diaspora. A must-read for anyone who has ever craved home.
— Dina Nayeri, author of The Ungrateful Refugee and Who Gets Believed?
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324092230
ISBN-10: 1324092238
Publisher: Liveright
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English