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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Sep 12, 2019

For this show, Claudia Cragg (@ClaudiaCragg) speaks here with Jason DeParle (@JasonDeParle) a veteran reporter for The New York Times, about his new book, A Good Provider is One Who Leaves (Viking, 1st Edition edition, August 20, 2019.

Throughout his career, De Parle has written extensively about poverty and immigration. His book, American Dream: Three Women, Ten Kids, and a Nation’s Drive to End Welfare was a New York Times Notable Book and won the Helen Bernstein Award from the New York City Library. He was an Emerson Fellow at New America. He is a recipient of the George Polk Award and is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

De Parle's latest work is powerful examination of one of the day’s most important topics: global migration.

In many ways, the latest is a summary effort of the past three decades of his core research that began in the Philippines when he was a much younger reporter launching his career. Some of the close relationships he forged during his time there became lifelong friendships—and helped lead to this crucial and timely volume about the increasingly explosive and controversial phenomenon of global migration.

Three decades ago, when the author was reporting on the poverty of the shantytowns of Manila, he met Tita Comodas, who reluctantly took him in as a boarder. Unable to provide for his family, Emet, Tita’s husband, was forced to take a job abroad in Saudi Arabia, and he spent the next 20 years living far from his loved ones in order to send remittances home and afford his children a higher standard of life.

Identifying the book’s title as the family mantra, DeParle focuses on their daughter, Rosalie, then a 15-year-old studying nursing. He follows her through the years as she graduated and took nursing jobs abroad, eventually arriving in Galveston, Texas, and her own lifelong dream fulfilled: a job in the U.S.

Moving in and out of the narrative of Rosalie’s journey, the author chronicles her daily struggles, tying them to the bigger picture of migration movements and globalism as well as the economic, political, and cultural particulars of immigration in North America.

Giving a human face to the issue of immigration, De Parle does a great service to his readers and his subjects.