• The Ungrateful Refugee

  • What Immigrants Never Tell You
  • By: Dina Nayeri
  • Narrated by: Dina Nayeri
  • Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (98 ratings)

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The Ungrateful Refugee

By: Dina Nayeri
Narrated by: Dina Nayeri
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Publisher's Summary

What is it like to be a refugee? It is a question many of us do not give much thought to, and yet there are more than 25 million refugees in the world. 

Aged eight, Dina Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee camp. Eventually, she was granted asylum in America. She settled in Oklahoma, then made her way to Princeton University. In this book, Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with the stories of other refugees and asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the different stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement. In this book, a couple falls in love over the phone, women gather to prepare noodles that remind them of home, a closeted queer man tries to make his case truthfully as he seeks asylum, and a translator attempts to help new arrivals present their stories to officials. 

Nayeri confronts notions like “the swarm”, and, on the other hand, “good” immigrants. She calls attention to the harmful way in which Western governments privilege certain dangers over others. With surprising and provocative questions, The Ungrateful Refugee challenges us to rethink how we talk about the refugee crisis.

©2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2019 Dreamscape Media, LLC

Featured Article: Honoring the Courage and Heart of Displaced Peoples on World Refugee Day


World Refugee Day is a time to celebrate the bravery and strength of those who have had to flee their homes in search of protection. But it's also a day of empathy, of understanding, and of listening, so that we may hear the stories of refugees and the struggles they've had to endure. This collection of biographies and memoirs written by and about refugees offers a window into their lived experiences and an invitation to a greater sense of compassion.

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  • Overall
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Amazing story of resilience and compassion

Nayeri’s book is incredibly thoughtful and moving in giving voice, both figuratively and literally with her performance, to an essential topic that ALL Americans need to understand!

3 people found this helpful

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Worth the read.

The narration was a little difficult to initially get into but overall the story was worth it. As an immigrant, there were many times when this book hit home a little too hard. And that's not a bad thing.

1 person found this helpful

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Refugee experiences through an intersectional lens

This book could serve as a manual for policy makers and international organizations and agencies.

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Refugee who finally found her voice in a book!

As a refugee, I have read many books on the immigration and refugees and many more related subjects. This book by Dina Nayeri, although hard to read/listen to for me, was the most honest. I am grateful for where I am, but I am coming from much more than just you see in my history and I could see every step of my feelings in this book. I became a refugee in 21 but the combination of Dina and her mom and grandmother is what I call mine!

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Everyone should read !!

I wish that Dina’s interpretation of how people really feel and of how we make others feel could be an enlightening explanation to all people . Then the only rule that would rule is the Golden Rule!

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Lots of touching vignettes

Dina Nayeri definitely has stories to tell. But I was looking for something I could follow. And although I usually like to hear a book read by its author, I found her voice, all I can think of is tiring. It was not a book I enjoyed listening to. But I listening to all of it because I wanted to hear what she had to say, and it was not insignificant.