All our lives we had been taught the virtues of behaving, and now we were discovering the importance of misbehaving.
Too much fear had tainted our days.
Together as girls we found the courage we had been told was not in us.In Journey from the Land of No Roya Hakakian recalls her childhood and adolescence in prerevolutionary Iran with candor and verve.
The result is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about one deeply intelligent and perceptive girls attempt to ï?nd an authentic voice of her own at a time of cultural closing and repression.
Remarkably, she manages to re-create a time and place dominated by religious fanaticism, violence, and fear with an open heart and often with great humor.Hakakian was twelve years old in 1979 when the revolution swept through Tehran.
But the Hakakians were also part of the very small Jewish population in Iran who witnessed the iron fist of the Islamic fundamentalists increasingly tightening its grip.
It is with the innocent confusion of youth that Roya describes her discovery of a swastikaa plus sign gone awry, a dark reptile with four hungry clawspainted on the wall near her home.
Only much later did Roya learn that she was spared a similar fate because her teacher admired her writing.Hakakian relates in the most poignant, and at times painful, ways what life was like for women after the country fell into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who had declared an insidious war against them, but we see it all through the eyes of a strong, youthful optimist who somehow came up in the world believing that she was different, knowing she was special.
At her loneliest, Roya discovers the consolations of writing while sitting on the rooftop of her house late at night.
And she discovers the craft that would ultimately enable her to find her own voice and become her own person.A wonderfully evocative story, Journey from the Land of No reveals an Iran most readers have not encountered and marks the debut of a stunning new talent.