Cover image for A land of permanent goodbyes
Title:
A land of permanent goodbyes
Title:
A land of permanent goodbyes
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, [2018]
Physical Description:
279 pages ; 22 cm
Abstract:
After their home in Syria is bombed, Tareq, his father, and his younger sister seek refuge, first with extended family in Raqqa, a stronghold for the militant group, Daesh, and then abroad.

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Status
Searching...
YA F ABAW New or Popular Book YA Fiction
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

Tareq lives in Syria with his warm and loving family, until the bombs strike. He, his father, and his younger sister are the only survivors, and they have no choice but to go to Raqqa, where they have extended family. But Raqqa is a stronghold for Daesh, the militant group claiming to follow the tennets of Islam, yet who really exist only to enable violence and intolerance. Tareq's family leave quickly, and Tareq heads to Istanbul with his cousin. From there, reunited with his younger sister, they flee successfully to Greece.

This is a story of resilience in the face of darkness, and of one boy's courage in desperate circumstances. But it is also the story of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. With Destiny as a narrator offering perspective and context, readers see that this conflict in Syria is part of a long chain of wars throughout time -- and that, throughout all of those wars, there have also been heroes, small and large, who prove that humanity is ultimately inclined toward good.


Author Notes

Atia Abawi is a foreign news correspondent who was stationed for almost five years in Kabul, Afghanistan. She was born to Afghan parents in West Germany and was raised in the United States. Her first book for teens was the powerful Secret Sky , about forbidden romance between different ethnic tribes. She currently lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Conor Powell, and their son, Arian, where she covers stories unfolding in the middle east and the surrounding areas. You can follow her on Twitter @AtiaAbawi.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this gripping and heartrending novel, Abawi (The Secret Sky) follows a family of Syrian refugees, whose lives are changed when one of the feared "bombs that fell indiscriminately from the sky" destroys their apartment building. Teenage Tareq, his father, and his four-year-old sister, Susan, survive, but his mother, grandmother, and three other siblings die in the blast. All three flee the country, joining the endless stream of refugees desperately seeking safety. Destiny itself serves as an omniscient narrator, a device that helps to buffer readers from the relentless terror, hunger, and danger plaguing Tareq's family: "To me, you are all from the same world. You have the same hearts, needs, wants and desires." As the family journeys through Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Macedonia on their way to Germany, its configuration varies, most poignantly when Fayed pays smugglers to take his children in a perilously overcrowded boat bound for Greece. Newfound friendships and stories of volunteers pulling refugees from the Aegean provide elements of hope in this upsetting yet beautifully rendered portrayal of an ongoing humanitarian crisis. Ages 12-up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Tareq can remember Syria, before the war, before the air strikes, before all of the bombed-out buildings. He misses daily life, how his father would sell food at the market while Tareq helped take care of his siblings. After a bomb drops from the sky and decimates Tareq's family, he begins a sorrowful journey as a refugee, passing through a landscape that is ever changing with other people who are abandoning their homes, whether by choice or fate. This touching read will stir empathy and compassion about the harrowing plight of refugees. Abawi paints a vivid picture of how much control one does not have of her or his own life, especially when up against an entire country's viscous uprising, and helps give perspective on how religion can be used to help create a world where the most basic human rights are violated. Most important, this book illustrates the hardships refugees face in staying connected to the people they love when they are always having to say goodbye.--Bratt, Jessica Anne Copyright 2018 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Told from the point of view of Destiny, this novel focuses on one Syrian family tragically affected by a senseless and brutal war. Tareq, the eldest son, along with his father and young sister, are the only members of their immediate family still alive after their village is bombed. The only practical means of survival is to flee their homeland for Turkey, Greece, and ultimately, Germany, to evade persecution and probable (if not inevitable) death. Abawi presents a gripping, heartbreaking story about the refugee crisis in Syria, and how all wars cruelly impact people, society, and nations. The author does not shy away from many of the barbaric acts of terrorism perpetrated against the anti-establishment Muslim citizens: beheadings followed by vacant-eyed human heads posted on metal spikes to terrorize nonbelievers into compliance. She contrasts this poignantly, memorably, and poetically with the endearing way she describes Tareq and his loving family. Several other characters are introduced. Alexia, an American on vacation in Greece, decides to stay in the country to help. Her story is an integral one as it merges with Tareq's arrival, though the thread ends somewhat abruptly. Overall, Abawi skillfully places humanity enmeshed in war into two sides: the "hunters" who feed on the suffering and the "helpers" who lend a hand. VERDICT 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.-Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal Review

The Syrian refugee crisis is brought to the forefront in this compelling fictional story of a teenage Syrian boy's dangerous journey to freedom. As Tareq travels from Syria to Turkey to Greece to Germany, listeners are drawn into the harsh realities of family separations, deaths, stark living conditions, and everyday tragedies. Leila Buck narrates and chronicles the agonizing journey as the voice of Destiny. While the sometimes-preachy Destiny is read in a mostly detached voice, Buck puts feeling and emotions into the characters. An exciting sequence with Tareq and two volunteer aid workers searching for Tarek's kidnapped little sister will have listeners riveted, thanks to Buck's performance. Libraries in need of audiobooks that bring the refugee situation to life will be interested in this thought-provoking and serious rendition. VERDICT Give this to listeners who can handle the delicate balance of refugees' heartbreaking suffering with hopes of a better life.-Julie Paladino, Chapel Hill, NC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

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, his mother looked peaceful and gracious. Tareq brought her delicate hand to his mouth, pressing it to his lips ever so gently. A kiss goodbye. A finality he didn't want to accept; no child ever does, no matter their age. When he looked up, he was brought back into the current chaos, listening to the sounds of wails and the sirens. The man in the white helmet wasn't alone: There were many wearing the same uniform--they all had the same tan vests and tired eyes. Some helmets were brighter, others stained with the gloom of war, a thick layer of death and broken souls. Tareq spotted the man who had pulled him out--Ahmed--marching forward, carrying something. His headlamp beamed in front of him, making it hard to see what was in his arms. It was when he got closer that Tareq recognized the long dark brown hair bouncing with Ahmed's every step. "I'm sorry, habibi." He handed Farrah's wilted body over to her big brother, who rocked the young girl in his arms as he kissed her round cheek. The tears falling from his face cleaned the dust from hers. "I found her in the room next to where I found you." Ahmed quickly turned and walked away, unable to take the grief. Excerpted from A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.