Best Books on Emigration: Leaving everything behind and starting from scratch in a distant country is a dream for many. Mostly one imagines life under palm trees or in the middle of the big city. Getting there is usually not easy.
Best Books on Emigration
These six novels tell very special emigration stories that never let us go:
1. Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
The novel “Brooklyn” by Colm Tóibín, which has just been filmed, tells the story of the young Irish woman Eilis Lacey, who emigrates to the USA to find work. A priest helps her emigrate and find work in Brooklyn, but Eilis finds it difficult to adapt. The Irish woman misses her family too much and the roommates in the dormitory for Irish women seem to have completely different interests from her. When Eilis attended evening classes to become an accountant, she noticed how independent she had become and started doing more. However, Eili’s increased confidence does not help her choose between Ireland and America and between two men.
2. Viva Polonia – Steffen Moller
Viva Polonia is now a bestseller and tells the story of Steffen Möller, who lives as a German guest worker in Poland. There he even made it onto television and played an unhappy lover in the Polish telenovela “M jak Milosc” (L for love) and in other comedy shows.
Steffen Möller reports in great detail about Polish hospitality, Polish superstitions or how to talk politically correct about Polish politics.
3. Goodbye Leningrad: A Memoir – Elena Gorokhova
Elena Gorokhova was born in 1955 in what is now St. Petersburg (Leningrad) and grows up in a Soviet apartment block, well protected by her imperious mother. Elena quickly notices that the freedom-robbing system is taking away the air she can breathe. Elena was immediately fascinated by the English lessons, the English and American cultures seem so very different. She later decides to study English and when she meets the American guest student Robert and falls in love, she decides to say goodbye to the Soviet Union and to emigrate to the USA.
4. What we dreamed of – Julie Otsuka
Julie Otsuka’s novel tells the story of a group of young Japanese women who traveled to California to get married in the early 20th century. The so-called “Picture Brides” were matched to their future husbands with the help of matchmakers. Until then, they only knew them from photos. The young women dreamed of a better life in the USA, but very few have a rough idea of what to expect in the new country. The story begins with the boat trip and wild speculations about the hitherto unknown country to which they will emigrate forever. At first, the shock was great, as most of them cannot recognize their future husbands from the photos.
5. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat Pray Love” has become the best-known book when it comes to international experience. Hardly any other novel has led so many people to question the status quo and to search for themselves. Elizabeth, drawn into the distance because of her marital problems, traveled to Italy, India and Bali. She learned more about herself in each of these individual stations and was able to inspire more than seven million readers.
6. Sometimes the Callas – Maria Hellmann Sings
A house in the south has always been Maria’s dream. After several years in Taiwan, it should first be a house on Mallorca. The decision then falls on an old country house in the sister region of Tuscany. But there is still a long way to go to the perfect house in the south, because the good piece still has to be completely renovated. No problem for Maria, who takes every challenge with humor and was able to realize her lifelong dream.