In an era of mass migration in which more than 100 million people are displaced comes this lyrical portrait of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and the belongings they carry. What We Remember Will Be Saved is a book of hope, home, and the stories we hold within us when everything else has been lost.
Journalist and scholar Stephanie Saldaña, who lived in Syria before the war, sets out on a journey across nine countries to meet refugees and learn what they salvaged from the ruins when they escaped. Now, in the narratives of six extraordinary women and men, from Mt. Sinjar to Aleppo to Lesvos to Amsterdam, we discover that the little things matter a great deal. Saldaña introduces us to a woman who saved her city in a dress, a musician who saved his stories in songs, and a couple who rebuilt their destroyed pharmacy even as the city around them fell apart. Together they provide a window into a religiously diverse corner of the Middle East on the edge of unraveling, and the people keeping it alive with their stories.
Born of years of friendship and reporting, What We Remember Will Be Saved is a breathtaking, elegiac odyssey into the heart of the largest refugee crisis in modern history. It reminds us that refugees are storytellers and speakers of vanishing languages, and of how much history can be distilled into a piece of fabric, or eggplant seeds. What we salvage tells our story. What we remember will be saved.
Stephanie Saldaña is a journalist and religion scholar from San Antonio, Texas, who has spent most of the last twenty years living in the Middle East. Saldaña studied religion at Harvard Divinity School and is the author of A Country Between and The Bread of Angels, hailed by Geraldine Brooks as "a remarkable, wise, and lovely book." Her work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, America Magazine, and Plough, and she has been featured on National Public Radio. Saldaña and her family split their time between Bethlehem and France.