Beyond the Sand and Sea: One Family’s Quest for a Country to Call Home

Ty McCormick. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-24060-6
Foreign Affairs editor McCormick debuts with a moving and meticulously researched portrait of Asad Hussein, a Somali refugee born in the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya, who won a full scholarship to Princeton. After fleeing the Somali Civil War in 1991, Asad’s family were among the hundreds of thousands of residents “kept alive but prevented from living” at Dadaab. The family clung to the hope of making it to America, and, in 2004, nine-year-old Asad and his family were called for medical exams, the first step in the resettlement process. The male nurse in charge of the clinic asked to marry Asad’s 14-year-old sister, however; when she refused, the family’s resettlement case stalled. Meanwhile, Asad, an avid reader and aspiring writer, sought a way out through academics, eventually winning a scholarship to a boarding school in Nairobi and then becoming the first refugee from Dadaab accepted to Princeton, where he started in the fall of 2018. His parents had arrived in the U.S. in early 2017, just beating President Trump’s ban on refugees from Somalia and other Muslim-majority countries. McCormick enriches the story with vivid character profiles and history lessons, using Asad’s story to illuminate the plight of refugees around the world. This heart-wrenching account ends on a high note. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 11/20/2020
Release date: 03/30/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
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