Dee Curwen of Corvallis will review “After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America” by Jessica Goudeau as part of the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library’s Random Review series.
“After the Last Border” explores the troubling history of the United States’ relationship with refugees. It couples this with an illustration of present reality through the stories of two refugee women and their families.
The lives of Mu Naw, a Christian from Myanmar, and Hasna, a Syrian Muslim, put very human faces on America’s ongoing social and political struggles with refugee policy.
Goudeau has written for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic and other publications. “After the Last Border” won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, was named Social Science Book of the Year by the Library Journal, and was declared essential reading by the New York Times’ book reviewer.
Curwen, whose mother was born in the Crimea on the Black Sea, grew up in a small Virginia mill town in the 1950s, a time and place where “Russian” meant “enemy,” or at least someone suspect and threatening. She spent 20 years teaching English to speakers of other languages at all levels, from beginners to academics — and listening to numerous immigrant stories.
After retiring from 12 years as coordinator of Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center, Curwen continues to travel throughout the world, often across borders that many of her students have crossed; and volunteering to assist immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship. Her dream is to spend the winter writing a children’s book for her granddaughter Zelda.
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