“Thousands of Afghans have arrived in the US. Like many before them, the plight of the undocumented will be a long journey. And now a new book speaks to what that means in America.
Author QIAN JULIE WANG is an Ivy League graduate, an attorney, and a New York Times and Washington Post op-ed writer. With these credentials – you may be surprised to learn that Wang also grew up undocumented.
“In her new book “BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY,” Wang speaks to the depths of human resilience while spotlighting issues like the cruelties of the immigration system and the realities of hunger, poverty, and lack of affordable healthcare for the undocumented.
It will open the eyes of those people who think they’ve never crossed paths with someone undocumented or have never considered just how alike their contributions to this country might be.
“The book asks readers to confront what it means to criminalize the most human thing in the world: trying to make a home.
Qian Julie Wang’s BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY is a book geared to join the high ranks of immigrant literature including Angela’s Ashes, Educated, The Glass Castle.
“Wang, who grew up undocumented tells a story that will resonate with the millions of undocumented people living in the United States and those bearing the intergenerational trauma of their families’ refugee stories.
“Channeling her childhood perspective, Qian Julie Wang illuminates an essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility and a girl coming of age in the shadows who never stops seeking the light.”
About the book
: “In Chinese, the word for America, “Mei Guo,” translates directly to “Beautiful Country.” Yet when 7 years old, Qian is plucked from her comfortable life in China where she’s surrounded by friends and family and arrives in New York City in 1994, she finds the roads paved not with gold, but instead crushing fear and scarcity. Her professor parents now work in Chinatown sweatshops and sushi factories. Instead of laughing at her jokes, they fight constantly. She no longer loves school because she’s too hungry to pay attention. Her mother, her sole confidante, is too sick to get out of bed, but going to the doctor isn’t an option. And most distressing of all: the number one rule in America is that she must go unnoticed—or risk losing everything. It’s under this perpetual specter of deportation that we watch Qian Julie come of age. Yet while Qian Julie’s is a story of hopes dashed, it’s also one of a life lived tenaciously in their stead, with small, vital joys and glimmers of hope: a dollar slice of pizza, Rockefeller Center at Christmastime, a bedroom with her own door, or her very own Tamagotchi digital pet.
About the author: Although the book ends when Qian Julie Wang’s family leaves the US 5 years later, her remarkable true story did not end there. She attended Swarthmore College and Yale Law School and, until recently, worked as a high-powered corporate litigator in Manhattan—in fact, she wrote the book almost entirely on her iPhone during her daily subway commute. She is now pursuing her advocacy work full-time and is managing partner of Gottlieb & Wang LLP, a firm dedicated to advocating for education and discrimination rights. She regularly speaks and writes on these issues, including recent op-eds for the New York Times and Washington Post.”