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New Student Book Experience
2007 Selection

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Journey from the Land of No
by Roya Hakakian

Nominated by Dr. Anne Brodskay, Dept. of Psychology and Dept. of Gender and Women's Studies

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.

The story captures one's interest on page 1 and holds it throughout the 227 pages. It describes the life of teens and college students (both men and women) and their families over nine turbulent years.

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.