refugee tales review

Refugee Tales is a compilation of real stories told to various authors, including Patience Agbabi, Jade Amoli-Jackson, Chris Cleave, Stephen Collis, Inua Ellams, and Abdulrazak Gurnah. Published by CommaPress, this is based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Instead of the Wife of Bath’s Tale and The Knight’s Tale, we have the Lorry Driver’s Tale and The Detainee’s Tale.

All of the tales come from refugees who have been helped by the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group. The idea for the book came from the fact that many of the refugees wished to tell their stories, but were too afraid to speak alone. To put it mildly, they are – terrifying. Unfair. Beautiful. Human.

The scope of the book is huge. I’m struggling to describe it properly, and as it should be. I have never read a series of stories so necessary and timely and bloody brilliant. All I can say is: everyone needs to read this. And if I’m asked again what book I think the prime minister/president should read? ‘Refugee Tales’ will be my answer.

“We hear so many of the wrong words about refugees – ugly, limiting, unimaginative words – that it feels like a gift to find here so many of the right words which allow us to better understand the lives around us, and our own lives too.”

Have a good one, folks.

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