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Journey from the Land of No

by Roya Hakakian

Roya Hakakian

This book provides a woman’s retrospective on her life in a Jewish intellectual Iranian family leading up to the revolution in Iran. She describes differences between her elder brother’s experiences, and hers as a young child, and the impact of fleeing one’s homeland on her life and that of her family.

Hakakian describes the deceptions used to shut down individual thoughts and inculcate group values. The same deceptions are used today by many political, economic, social and religious groups around the world. In this book Iranians were deceived first by the Shah, then by the Ayatollah. The narrative opens in 1975 when Roya’s brother Albert must flee Iran to escape SAVAK. It closes in 1984 when Roya flees to escape SAVAMA. Christians, Jews, and Muslims are all described sympathetically.

Kirkus Review described Hakakian as “an accomplished writer” with “vivid political reportage” and Booklist described her as “lyrically poignant.”

Harold Bloom called Journey “immensely moving, extraordinarily eloquent and passionate.” Praise crosses religious and political boundaries. It was a “Best Book of the Year in Nonfiction” awardee in 2004. It incorporates prose, poetry, history and philosophy in easily grasped terms. The book includes a glossary, chronology, map of Tehran, and a reading group guide to make discussion with first year students more lively.

Nominated by:
  • Dr. Anne Brodskay, Dept. of Psychology and Dept. of Gender and Women’s Studies

 

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