Skip to main content
Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Somewhere in the Unknown World

Somewhere in the Unknown World

A Collective Refugee Memoir

Kao Kalia Yang

Metropolitan Books

BUY THE BOOK

Somewhere in the Unknown World is a themed collection of stories of refugees from around the world who have converged on Minneapolis, collected and told by the award-winning author of The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet.

Back in the 1980s, Minnesota's University Avenue was barely clinging to life. Lined with church thrift stores, boarded windows, and prostitutes leaning against streetlights, the sidewalks were thick with bloody, discarded needles. Today, University Avenue is a bustling commercial center, a hub of Halal butchers, Mexican carnicerias, grocery stores selling delicacies to new arrivals from Ethiopia and Bosnia, Iraq and China. A dying strip of America has been revived by the stateless.

As the country's doors are closing and nativism is on the rise, Kao Kalia Yang—herself a refugee from Laos—set out to tell the stories of the refugees to whom University Avenue is now home. Here are people who have summoned the energy and determination to make a new life even as they carry an extraordinary burden of hardship, loss, and emotional damage: Irina, an ex-Soviet, who still hoards magical American fruit—bananas!—under her bed; the Thai brothers of Vinai and their business selling purified water to gullible immigrants; the Kareni boys, who have brought Minnesota to basketball glory.

In Yang's exquisite, poetic, and necessary telling, the voices of refugees from all over the world restore humanity to America's strangers and redeem its long history of welcome.

Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father, which received the 2017 Minnesota Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, and the PEN USA Literary Award. Her previous book, The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir, also received the Minnesota Book Award. Yang, a regular contributor to NPR's On Belief, lives in Minneapolis.

Read Author Essays at Onbeing.org

Metropolitan Books

Latest on Facebook

LATEST ON TWITTER