Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran

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Crown Publishers, 2004 - Authors, Persian - 245 pages
From a charmed childhood in pre-revolutionary Iran - a time when veils for women were banned and miniskirts were all the rage - to awakening to the dawning of the Islamic Fundamentalist revolution, JOURNEY FROM THE LAND OF NO charts a brilliant young girl's coming of age as the world she knows and loves falls apart. Young Roya dreams of becoming an famous writer but the country beats her to growing up when Ayatollah Khomeyni returns after a 15-year exile and life in Iran is changed forever, from veils for women becoming mandatory to school friends accused of reading blasphemous books being escorted from class by guards, never to be seen again. Roya escaped only because her teacher risked her life to save such a talented writer.Roya and her friends become victims of an insidious war declared on Iran's female citizens: 'Between 1982 and 1990 an unknown number of Iranian women were raped on the eve of their executions by guards who alleged that killing a virgin was a sin in Islam.' At her loneliest, watching the world change below from her rooftop at night, Roya discovers the consolations of writing, a gift that will ultimately enable her to find her own voice and become her own person.But it was not to be for long in Iran. Forced to flee at 18, Hakakian reflects that 'When you have been a refugee, abandoned all your loves and your belongings, your memories become your belongings'. She has woven these memories into a powerfully evocative portrait of a turning point in history - and a timely reminder of the power of the human spirit.

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