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A Beginner's Guide to America

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A Beginner's Guide to America by Roya Hakakian
Hardcover $27.00
Mar 16, 2021 | ISBN 9780525656067

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  • Mar 16, 2021 | ISBN 9780525656067

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A Beginner’s Guide to America is a striking and beautiful work: both a genuinely practical primer for newcomers to America, and a deeply personal account of Arrival—an event that underlies nearly every American life. Roya Hakakian provides a timely, entertaining, historically rich reminder of the hope and opportunity this country has offered to so many, for so long, and the rewards it has reaped in return.”—Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach

“[Her] observation takes the seemingly banal into the realm of the profound and is characteristic of Hakakian’s honest and beautiful book. . . Hers is a “guide,” yes, but of an amicable kind. She offers counsel to readers, not commandments, and although her book could be seen as a love letter to America, it is one that’s been written by an exacting lover who isn’t blind to this country’s flaws.”—Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal

“Lyrical and perceptive, A Beginner’s Guide to America is an immigrant’s love letter to the nation that took her in. And it is a timely reminder of what millions of human beings endure when they uproot their lives to become Americans by choice.”—Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe

“Poignant and richly observed . . . [Hakakian] captures the immigrant’s twinned sense of hope and loss with lyrical precision. Readers will salute this astute and sincere look at what it means to ‘be remade’ on American soil.”Publishers Weekly

“Pleasingly intimate . . . An enlightening reminder about human rights and civic responsibility, all too relevant in a troubled time.”Kirkus

“Although narrated as advice for incoming immigrants, this personal, yet practical account is intended to challenge misconceptions and biases that native-born U.S. citizens have toward documented and undocumented immigrants. It is highly recommended for all.” – Library Journal

“Through the use of the second person and a ‘guidebook’ structure, Hakakian’s writing possesses a lyrical quality as she describes quotidian details of life, from arriving in the U.S. on to shopping, then sex and romance.”The National Book Review

A Beginner’s Guide to America shines many lights on this country’s idiosyncrasies . . . but Hakakian strikes a critical balance between admiration and criticism, achieving a love letter to America that nevertheless isn’t blind to the country’s imperfections.” —Tabby Refael, Jewish Journal

“Roya Hakakian is one of the most gifted and evocative writers of our day—her words are magic—and A Beginner’s Guide to America is a tour de force. Brilliant and sweeping, full of crackling insights on every page, this book is delightful, witty, transporting, and deeply inspiring—just what America needs.”—Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

A Beginner’s Guide to America is a timely, compelling examination of what life in the U.S. looks like for immigrants from the moment they land here and begin adjusting to a new culture.  Highly recommended for immigrants, their friends, and all those who work with the newly arrived.”—Abdi Nor Iftin, author of Call Me American 

“Hakakian’s book is a stirring, insightful, funny and uplifting book. Her real predecessor is Alexis de Tocqueville. A Beginner’s Guide to America is a worthy successor to his classic work. Hakakian captures the balance of love for America’s ideals, and honest perception of its imperfect achievement of them, that together with the resolve always to do better than we are doing now, is the heart of any honorable American patriotism. Count me among those thrilled to hear the vital message of this intelligent and graceful book.”—Anthony Kronman, author of The Assault on American Excellence

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