Journey From the Land of No : A Girl Hood Caught in Revolutionary IRan



“Political upheavals like the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism may be analyzed endlessly by scholars, but eyewitness accounts like Hakakian’s help us understand what it was like to experience such a revolution firsthand.”

—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


** Elle Magazine’s Readers Choice Award Best Nonfiction Book of 2004

** Winner of Best Memoir Connecticut Center for the Book 2005


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Reader’s Guide by Random House


What critics say:

“Journey from the Land of No is an immensely moving, extraordinarily eloquent, and passionate memoir. Its author begins what one may prophesy as a major literary career.”

~Harold Bloom

“Roya Hakakian[‘s] molten yet tender memoir of growing up Jewish in the years of revolution, Journey from the Land of No, is one of the jewels of the exile literary renaissance.”

~Christopher Hitchens, the Atlantic Monthly

“[Hakakian is] a lyrical storyteller . . . Her moving narrative swings from funny to sad, capturing idyllic scenes of her parents, aunts, and uncles picnicking and interacting with Muslim friends.”

~The Washington Post

“[A] spectacular debut memoir . . . Only a major writing talent like Hakakian can use the pointed words of the mature mind to give the perspective of the child . . . She tackles ideologies of assimilation and oppression with poetic aplomb and precision . . . Hakakian’s tale of passage into womanhood lacks nothing.”

~Boston Globe

“That this was not an easy story to tell, the author makes clear. “When you have been a refugee,” she writes, “abandoned all your loves and belongings, your memories become your belongings. . when you have nothing left to guard, you guard your memories.”

The energy needed to start a new life means putting aside the still smoldering passions of the past. There is danger, too, of being turned into “a poster child for someone else’s crusade.” Finally, though, a colleague’s astute questions and her own instincts as a journalist prompted her to tell her story, to bear witness to what she experienced, and to do so, not in Persian, the language that “could summon the teenager at sea,” but in English, which had “sheltered the adult survivor, safely inside a lighthouse.”

Both the universal puzzlement of the transformation from childhood to adult life and highly specific and fascinating recent events are evoked here. This is a lovely book.”

~The Washington Times

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