Summary and book reviews of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

by Atia Abawi

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi X
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi
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  • Published:
    Jan 2018, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag

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Book Summary

Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking - and timely - story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced the crisis firsthand.

In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family ... until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he's threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq's family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

An award-winning author and journalist - and a refugee herself - Atia Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.

Excerpt
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

Hours passed at the site of their bombed-out apartment building. Most of the survivors could do nothing but watch and weep as the corpses were lined up on the ground—bodies that included Tareq's grandmother and mother.

The moon shone bright as he lay between his mama and tehta. Holding their lifeless hands, Tareq tried breathing in his mother's scent one last time, but all he could smell was smoke and dust.

He squeezed her palm, ignoring the sirens that engulfed his neighborhood. Although limp, it was still the same hand that he had held as a timid child when stepping into crowded souks in search of spices and clothes. He stroked the elegant fingers that had caressed him gently, making him feel warm and safe. "I will be okay, Mama, please don't worry. I will take care of my little brothers and sisters just like you took care of us." He looked at her closed eyes with those perfectly arched brows and took in her beauty. Even dead, ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The true strength of Abawi's prose comes from her background as a journalist. She grounds the narrative in the day to day lives of her characters while simultaneously balancing the omniscient narration through Destiny, providing scope and detail that will allow the reader to feel an immediacy while also understanding how this family's story fits within a greater historical context. Abawi manages to bring to human scale a pain too great and an experience that should never be known by anyone, but is known too well, by too many.   (Reviewed by Michelle Anya Anjirbag).

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Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. [A] gripping and heartrending novel ... [and an] upsetting yet beautifully rendered portrayal of an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

School Library Journal

Starred Review. An inspiring, timely, and must-have account about the Syrian refugee disaster and the perils of all wars; best supplemented with nonfiction information for research purposes.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A heartbreaking, haunting, and necessary story.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Syrian Culture: A Rich, Layered Legacy

The voices and stories of Syrian refugee experiences are not the only thing drowned out by the international news agencies' overwhelming focus on conflict, war, and death tolls. Underneath the tragedy, now literally buried beneath the rubble in many cases, is a cultural legacy that has spanned centuries and empires. The empires that ruled over and influenced Syria from the ancient to the modern period included the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, with the Ottoman empire ruling from 1516 to 1918. Religious, art, music, and food cultures are the legacy left behind that vary both according to cultural differences and regional differences, as well as a number of UNESCO World Heritage site designations for ...

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