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Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

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Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the Hardcover

“We stormed every classroom, inscribed our slogans on the blackboard . . . Never had mayhem brought more peace. All our lives we had been taught the virtues of behaving, and now we were discovering the importance of misbehaving. Too much fear had tainted our days. Too many afternoons had passed in silence, listening to a fanatic’s diatribes. We were rebelling because we were not evil, we had not sinned, and we knew nothing of the apocalypse. . . . This was 1979, the year that showed us we could make our own destinies. We were rebelling because rebelling was all we could do to quell the rage in our teenage veins. Together as girls we found the courage we had been told was not in us.”

In Journey from the Land of No Roya Hakakian recalls her childhood and adolescence in prerevolutionary Iran with candor and verve. The result is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about one deeply intelligent and perceptive girl’s attempt to ?nd an authentic voice of her own at a time of cultural closing and repression. Remarkably, she manages to re-create a time and place dominated by religious fanaticism, violence, and fear with an open heart and often with great humor.

Hakakian was twelve years old in 1979 when the revolution swept through Tehran. The daughter of an esteemed poet, she grew up in a household that hummed with intellectual life. Family gatherings were punctuated by witty, satirical exchanges and spontaneous recitations of poetry. But the Hakakians were also part of the very small Jewish population in Iran who witnessed the iron fist of the Islamic fundamentalists increasingly tightening its grip. It is with the innocent confusion of youth that Roya describes her discovery of a swastika—“a plus sign gone awry, a dark reptile with four hungry claws”—painted on the wall near her home. As a schoolgirl she watched as friends accused of reading blasphemous books were escorted from class by Islamic Society guards, never to return. Only much later did Roya learn that she was spared a similar fate because her teacher admired her writing.

Hakakian relates in the most poignant, and at times painful, ways what life was like for women after the country fell into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who had declared an insidious war against them, but we see it all through the eyes of a strong, youthful optimist who somehow came up in the world believing that she was different, knowing she was special. At her loneliest, Roya discovers the consolations of writing while sitting on the rooftop of her house late at night. There, “pen in hand, I led my own chorus of words, with a melody of my own making.” And she discovers the craft that would ultimately enable her to find her own voice and become her own person.

A wonderfully evocative story, Journey from the Land of No reveals an Iran most readers have not encountered and marks the debut of a stunning new talent.

Synopsis:

An Iranian American poet recounts her life as a daughter of Jewish parents growing up in Tehran, during which she witnessed the impact of the Ayatollah Khomeini's return to the nation and contemplated political asylum.

About the Author

ROYA HAKAKIAN is a former associate producer at CBS’s 60 Minutes and a documentary filmmaker. She is the author of two acclaimed volumes of poetry in Persian and a recipient of the 2002–2003 Dewitt Wallace–Reader’s Digest Fellowship. She lives in Connecticut. Visit her at www.RoyaHakakian.com.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

New York city, July 13, 1999 — The little black fish — The baby blue BMW — Farah — On the rooftops — The big bang — Fresh air, singing doves, budding flowers, sashaying spring, and other postrevolutionary miracles — The dreamers — 1984.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307421142
Publisher:
Three Rivers Press
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : General
Author:
Hakakian, Roya
Author:
Roya Hakakian
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Women
Subject:
History : Middle East - General
Subject:
Childhood Memoir
Subject:
Middle East - Iran
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Ethnic Cultures - General
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Biography-Women
Subject:
Middle East-Iran/Persia
Subject:
Social Science : Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Religion : Judaism - General
Subject:
Middle East-Iran and Persia
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Series Volume:
A Girlhood Caught in
Publication Date:
20050628
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
256

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East
Religion » Judaism » General

Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran
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Product details 256 pages Crown Publishing Group - English 9780307421142 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , An Iranian American poet recounts her life as a daughter of Jewish parents growing up in Tehran, during which she witnessed the impact of the Ayatollah Khomeini's return to the nation and contemplated political asylum.
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