There’s nothing like the gift of a good book. Few presents are as intimate and heartfelt than a recommended novel or memoir, especially when it comes from those dearest to you. Particularly, when a story is resonant and powerful, it will take no more than a couple hundred pages to change a person’s life.
For overseas Filipinos workers (OFW), what will inevitably resonate are stories of individuals seeking opportunity abroad. This is not a subject we have to confine to Filipino writers; immigrants of various nationalities have encapsulated this experience through their art. The subject is vast and runs the gamut of human struggle toward redemption.
Think about the books you’d want to give your loved ones abroad. To help you out, we’ve compiled five books that deftly capture migrant and immigrant struggle:
1.) America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan
The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of the author’s own hardships as an immigrant in California in the 1930’s. The book was released in 1946 by Filipino-American fictionist, Carlos Bulosan. It has been described by a “social classic” by journalist Carey McWilliams.
2.) The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Written by a journalist and novelist, The Jungle depicts the sordid conditions in which immigrants lived in Chicago during the early 20th century. The novel vividly portrays the hopelessness among workers and the harsh working conditions in which they operated.
3.) The Other Hand by Chris Cleeve
This 2008 novel is about a British journalist and a Nigerian asylum seeker, who meet in a time of crisis. Drawing from his experience as employee at a detention center, author Chris Cleave paints an honest picture of asylum seekers in Britain.
4.) Philip Vera Cruz: A Personal History of Filipino Immigrants and the Farmworkers Movement by Craig Scharlin and Lilia V. Villanueva
The book is a personal memoir by Philip Vera Cruz, who served as vice president of the United Farm Workers in the 1960’s. It details Filipino farmworkers’ crucial 1965 strike that turned the tide for Pinoy laborers in California.
5.) A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy
Written by a then United States Senator John F. Kennedy, the would-be leader of the free world meditates on the integral role migration had played in his nation. When he ascended to the Presidency, Kennedy would later call on Congress to reevaluate migration law.