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A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
Cover of A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
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A powerful novel of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria, masterfully told by a journalist who witnessed the crisis firsthand. In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving...
A powerful novel of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria, masterfully told by a journalist who witnessed the crisis firsthand. In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving...
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  • A powerful novel of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria, masterfully told by a journalist who witnessed 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. 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.
    While this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of the heartbreaking consequences of all wars, all tragedy, narrated by Destiny itself. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

    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.
    Praise for A Land of Permanent Goodbyes:
    Featured on NPR's Morning Edition!
    Featured by Dana Perino’s on The Five!
    Featured as a most-anticipated book of 2018 on The Huffington Post!

    “[A] heartbreaking and to-the-minute timely story of the Syrian refugee crisis. Abawi gives even more humanity, depth, and understanding to the headlines.”—Bustle
    ★ “From award-winning journalist Abawi comes an unforgettable novel that brings readers face to face with the global refugee crisis . . . A heartbreaking, haunting, and necessary story that offers hope while laying bare the bleakness of the world.”—Kirkus Reviewsstarred review
    ★ "Abawi skillfully places humanity enmeshed in war into two sides: the 'hunters' who feed on the suffering and the 'helpers' who lend a hand. An inspiring, timely, and must-have account about the Syrian refugee disaster and the perils of all wars."—School Library Journalstarred review
    ★ "[A] gripping and heartrending novel . . . [and an] upsetting yet beautifully rendered portrayal of an ongoing humanitarian crisis."—Publishers Weeklystarred review
     
    "As author Atia Abawi artfully illustrates, refugees are created by circumstances that can happen anywhere. A perfect companion novel to Alan Gratz's Refugee, this humanizing, often harrowing and sometimes transcendent novel fosters compassion and understanding."—BookPage, Top Teen Pick
     
    “[T]his could be paired with Sepetys’ book . . . Salt to the Sea, for a multi-era look at the casualties of war.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
     
    “This is a harrowing and vitally important novel about an ongoing crisis. Tareq’s story will linger with readers long after they’ve turned the final page.”—Bookish
    "A Land of Permanent Goodbyes is an engrossing, heartbreaking story of survival, giving readers an authentic glimpse of the suffering and destruction in Syria."—Voice of Youth Advocates
    "A well-written, well-researched book."—School Library Connection
    "This touching read will stir empathy and compassion about the harrowing plight of refugees. Abawi . . . helps give perspective on how religion can be used to help create a world where the most basic human rights are violated."—Booklist

Excerpts-

  • From the book 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.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 13, 2017
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2017

    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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    December 1, 2017
    From award-winning journalist Abawi (The Secret Sky, 2014) comes an unforgettable novel that brings readers face to face with the global refugee crisis.Tareq, a young Syrian teenager, changes his daily routine as airstrikes on his city increase. When his home is hit by a bomb that kills most of his family in one day, Tareq is suddenly a refugee, traveling with his father and one surviving younger sister, Susan, to another Syrian town, then out of Syria to Turkey. When life in Turkey offers little hope, Tareq's father sends him and Susan to make the treacherous trip to Greece by water. Through incredible dangers and suffering, they meet refugees and aid workers from across the globe. Abawi integrates just enough background information into the plot to make the story and characters comprehensible. The narrator is Destiny, whose authoritative voice suits the tragic and dramatic turns of plot. The narrator's philosophical asides allow readers just enough distance to balance the intimacy of the suffering witnessed along the journey while helping to place the Syrian crisis in global and historical context as part of the cycle of humanity. The direct address challenges readers in a way that is heavy-handed only at the end, but even so it is chillingly effective. A heartbreaking, haunting, and necessary story that offers hope while laying bare the bleakness of the world Tareq leaves and the new one he seeks to join. (Fiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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