Thursday, October 1, 2015

What is the Immigrant Experience?

Today I'm delighted to welcome author A.J. Sidransky back to my blog. Some time ago I read and enjoyed his novel, Forgiving Maximo Rothmann (click for my review). As an immigrant myself, I found the uncertainties and sense of un-belonging in this novel truly resonated. Add a wonderful storyline with evocative dialog and descriptions and a wealth of amazing historical, geographic and social detail, and you'll see why readers of any background can be transported to a different world-view and experience.




Now I'm delighted to have just read the author's next book, Forgiving Mariela Camacho (I'll post reviews soon!). Here is A.J. Sidransky to tell us where this second novel comes from. Welcome A.J. and over to you.



When I began writing Forgiving Mariela Camacho I was drawn to a theme that I felt I had left only partially examined in Forgiving Maximo Rothman, the theme of the immigrant experience and the search for identity.  I had originally planned a fourth story line for ‘Maximo’ that examined the Dominican immigrant experience in the United States.  That story line ended up on the proverbial “cutting room floor,” for the sake of shortening the novel.  Forgiving Mariela Camacho picks up some of those threads in the back-story of Pete Gonzalvez, the novel’s protaganist.

Completely unexpectedly, I find that my book is about to be released at a time when the issue of immigration has stepped to the forefront of our national political debate.  I will spare you my personal opinions, as they would be inappropriate in this forum.  I will tell you though what I have learned.

In studying the experience of immigration for books, in which immigrants moved from Nazi occupied Europe to the Dominican Republic, from the Soviet Union to the United States and from the Dominican Republic to the United States, coupled with my own experiences growing up among immigrants in an immigrant household and my close relationships with many Dominican immigrants in Washington Heights, I can tell you that all immigrant experiences are essentially the same.  Economic and political forces drive immigration.  The names, the language, the foods and where you go to pray changes but essentially all immigrant experiences mirror each other.  Immigrants seek a better life for themselves and their families.  At the same time the longing for the home they left never subsides.

Regardless of your political inclinations, I hope you will read my book with this theme in mind and an open heart to the experiences of those who have lived the joy and the sadness of immigration.  We are all from someplace else.  Connecting to those who are arriving now may help us to understand better the experiences of our own ancestors.

I hope people will read them too--vivid depictions, great characters, wonderful locations and stories. Thank you so much Mr. Sidransky. I love both books, especially for the way they read as complete stories in themselves, each as multiple stories in one novel, and as a smoothly connected series together.

Find the author at:

Twitter: @AJSidransky
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajsidranskybooks
Website: http://ajsidransky.com/


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