Friday, January 12, 2018

#BookReview: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by @AtiaAbawi

About the Book: 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.

Reviewed By: Caity G.
Publisher: Philomel Books
Recommended Age: Young Adults and older
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
How I Acquired this book: Penguin First-to-Read galley
Overall rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads | Amazon
About the Author: Atia Abawi is a foreign correspondent and author based in the Middle East.

From an early age, Atia knew she wanted to be a journalist. After graduating from Virginia Tech, where she anchored the college’s local television station VTTV, Atia volunteered and was then hired on at CTV 76 –a local TV station in Largo, MD. In Maryland, Atia covered a wide range of stories – from politics to the impact that drugs and crime had on the local community - before moving to Atlanta to work for CNN.

At CNN, she started in the Media Operations department before making her way to the international desk. Within 2-years Atia was out in the field, producing on stories that included Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in Pakistan and the war in Iraq. A year-later she was hired to be CNN’s Afghanistan correspondent and manager of its Kabul bureau – an operation that she organized and set up.

In Afghanistan, Atia spent time traveling and embedding with U.S., NATO and Afghan forces -including during major military operations. She has also interviewed numerous Afghan, International, and American politicians and generals. 

Outside of Afghanistan, Atia reported on various international stories for CNN -including the Aung San Suu Kyi trial – where she had to sneak into Myanmar’s military state and film covertly - and the Gaza Flotilla attack of 2010 by Israeli forces.

In 2010, NBC News hired Atia to report and manage its operations in Afghanistan. Additionally, she also reported from London as part of NBC’s Royal wedding coverage, and was a part of the NBC News special report after the US raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, providing analysis and commentary. She was also able to obtain an NBC Exclusive interview with President Hamid Karzai in 2012 - the first for the network in a decade.

After nearly 5-years of living in Afghanistan, Atia moved to Jerusalem in January 2013. In that year, she covered President Barack Obama’s historic trip to Israel and Palestine, the military coup in Egypt, and the Kenyan mall siege by Al-Shabab militants among other stories.

Atia’s first book, “The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan” was published by Philomel, an imprint of Penguin Group, in September 2014.

Atia Abawi graduated from Virginia Tech and was most recently awarded their Outstanding Alumna honor. She is fluent in Dari and Farsi. Born in Germany, she moved to America at the age of one, growing up in Fairfax County, Virginia. Atia is married to FOX News Correspondent Conor Powell.

Noteworthy experiences while reading this book: Another book that ripped my heart out repeatedly

Check out author's other books? Without a doubt
Recommend this book? Yes. It's too important not to recommend it, plus it was well-written

Notes and Opinions: I still want to cry and I finished it a couple of weeks ago. I almost feel like the ending was too happy? But it wasn't really happy, if you get what I mean, and at the same time I was rooting for the main character, Tareq, and his family so much throughout that it's hard not to be happy about where they ended up, in a way. 

The thing about a book like this is that people who tend to live blinded by their own worldview won't see the extreme importance of what has been written. And the worst part is that it's not just Syria. It's northern Africa, it's western Africa, it's Myanmar and Yemen... A book like this goes a long way in raising awareness for more than just those in Syria who are facing loss of everything we take for granted living in our semi-comfortable lives.

Anyway, I realize I'm prone to getting a bit preachy as a result of this book, but I do think it's worth a read if you can handle getting your heart ripped out and stomped on a bit.

Go Into This One Knowing: If you know anything about the Syrian refugee crisis, you know that this is going to be an extremely rough, but also extremely important, read.

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