A Sliver of Light Summary and Reviews

A Sliver of Light

Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran

by Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal

A Sliver of Light by Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal X
A Sliver of Light by Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Joshua Fattal
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2014
    352 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

In summer 2009, Shane Bauer, Joshua Fattal, and Sarah Shourd were hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan when they unknowingly crossed into Iran and were captured by a border patrol. Accused of espionage, the three Americans ultimately found themselves in Tehran's infamous Evin Prison, where they discovered that pooling their strength of will and relying on each other were the only ways they could survive.

In this poignant memoir, "the hikers" finally tell their side of the story. They recount the deception that lured them into Iran in the first place and describe the psychological torment of interrogation and solitary confinement. We follow them as they make surprising alliances with their fellow prisoners and even some of their captors, while their own bonds with each other are tested and deepened. Told through a bold and innovative interweaving of the authors' three voices, here is a rare glimpse inside Iran and a timeless portrayal of hardship and hope.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"At its best, the narrative captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of daily life in prison, a life made even worse by their imperfect grasp of Persian." – Publishers Weekly

"An unsugared account that demonstrates the admirable, unbreakable bond of friends, parents and countrymen." – Kirkus

"Riveting and necessary and illuminating in countless unexpected ways. The hikers have pulled off the almost impossible task of making from their hellish experience something of beauty and grace." - Dave Eggers

"A Sliver of Light weaves a spellbinding tale of hard-won survival at the intersection of courage and love - the love of friends struggling to support one another in wretched circumstances, the unyielding bedrock of mothers' love for their long-lost children, and the fiercely tested love of three people for the family of humankind. It is a triumph of writing born of a triumph of being." - Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon

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Reader Reviews

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Love at First Book

Powerful read that will make a lasting impression
A Sliver of Light: Three Americans Imprisoned in Iran by Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal, and Sarah Shourd could be the most powerful book I have read in my life.

A Sliver of Light tells the true story of how Shane, Josh, and Sarah were hiking on a trip in Iraq, and when called over by guards, unknowingly crossed over the border into the country of Iran.

All three hikers went through psychological torture, solitary confinement (Sarah for the entire time of her imprisonment), and were not allowed phone calls nor letters from their families often.

A Sliver of Light is powerful, moving, and emotional – a story of triumph even in horrific circumstances. It reminds us of the beauty of the simple things in the world and also to be aware of the injustices that surround us as well.

I highly, highly recommend A Sliver of Light to be read by all.

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More Information

Shane Bauer is an investigative journalist and photographer. He has reported from locations such as Iraq, Sudan, Chad, Syria, Yemen, Israel/Palestine, and California's Pelican Bay supermax prison. He has written for Mother Jones, The Nation, Salon, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and others. He has received the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism, the John Jay/ H.F. Guggenheim Award for Criminal Justice Reporting, and many other national awards. He was also a finalist in the Livingston Award for journalists under 35.

Sarah Shourd is a writer, educator and Contributing Editor at Solitary Watch currently based in Oakland, California. Sarah has done international human rights work with the Zapatista indigenous movement in Chiapas, Mexico; organized with women's groups against unsolved murders of sweatshop workers in Juarez, Mexico; and taught for the Iraqi Student Project while living in Damascus, Syria. After her wrongful imprisonment in Iran, Sarah has become an advocate for prisoners' rights, focusing her writing, speaking, and theater projects on the wide-spread use of prolonged solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails. She has written for the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, and Newsweek/Daily Beast, and contributes a blog to Huffington Post.

A graduate of Berkeley's program in environmental economics and policy, Josh Fattal is an activist and organizer focused on sustainable development. He has spoken at universities, human rights conferences, and private events to describe the experience of imprisonment in Iran.

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