A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

Atia Abawi

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.

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Narrated by Destiny, this heartbreaking -- and timely -- story of refugees escaping from war-torn Syria is masterfully told by a foreign news correspondent who experienced 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.

In the wake of destruction, he's threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. 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.

But while this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

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:

As discussed on NPR's Morning Edition!

Featured as a most-anticipated book of 2018 on The Huffington Post and in Kirkus Reviews!


★ “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 Reviews, starred 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

“[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
 
“[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


Advance Galley Reviews

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi is a heart and gut wrenching book that is narrated by Destiny, or fate, as it follows the story of Tareq who is trying to escape his homeland of Syria. This book is not for the faint of heart and will pull at all of your emotions and remind you that the world is full of helpers in a sea of greed and evil. Thought-provoking and full of perseverance, this book is a must-read for everyone.

If you like to cry you should read this book. It reminded me of The Book Thief because the narrator is Destiny and it follows a young teen on a horrific journey. I was bawling withing 20 minutes of starting this book and I cried throughout the rest of it.

“You were born to die. In that I have no say. But when that happens is not up to me. It’s up to humanity and – all too often – the lack of it.” And thus begins Atia Abawi’s second book A Land of Permanent Goodbyes, which comes out this Tuesday. I got a copy from First to Read and am so glad I did. It was a captivating read, though heartbreaking. “What’s the risk of dying if we are already dead?” The novel focuses on the Syrian refugee crisis by following a Syrian teenage boy named Tareq as he is driven from his war-torn homeland to seek refuge elsewhere. The topic of the book is sad and death is ubiquitous throughout the story, though it is to be expected as death is unfortunately a huge part of the refugee story. I think this story is so important and necessary. I was surprised by how much I felt I understood the mindset of Tareq along his journey. Abawi does a wonderful job of letting the reader into the mindset of a refugee and why Tareq and his family make the choices that they do. “You see, words fade through time, as do faces. But it’s actions that linger, yours and those of others. They stay in the mind and the heart even as your body grows old and fragile. They transform into regrets and gratitude. Their effects outlive your brief stay on this planet.” The unique part of this book is that Abawi personifies destiny and makes it the first-person narrator, which, adds a unique perspective throughout the book. I think it could have been done a little better – I would have liked to have “destiny” appear a little more regularly. I felt like when there was a destiny paragraph (it switching to first person) I was a little thrown off. It was sporadic – I would have liked to have the destiny part tied in more. Overall, I did like that destiny was a narrator and have not seen something like this done before. I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those who do not know much about the Syrian refugee crisis. It is a solid 4/5 stars. “There are millions of Tareqs… all in search of safety and kindness. I hope you will provide that warmth, be that helper, do what you can to make that world a better place. Because when I meet you – and I will – there will be reckoning. There always is.”

This is, be warned, a sad one, as you'd expect a book about refugees fleeing war torn Syria to be. There's a lot of greedy people taking advantage of suffering, senseless death, child abduction, fighting, and rape (though the last is never described in detail.) It's a tough read in places. What I really didn't like was the narrator, Destiny. Unlike in The Book Thief, where Death is the narrator, Destiny's parts dragged, and felt intrusive or unnecessary. But overall the story is tragic and gripping, a struggle you find yourself hoping will end well. And it rewards that hope, if in a bittersweet way.

This was a beautiful story about loss and perseverance through that loss. While I don't think that this subject matter should be taken lightly at all I'd like to think that there are some stories that are actually like this one. Tareq's story is sad and probably all too familiar to the world today. His country has been taken over by Daesh fighters, most of his family has been killed, and he, along with his father and sister, are just trying to find a better life. This story gives you an in depth look of what it's like in the lives of refugees who just want something better for their families and themselves. It's sad and raw, with little bits of hope and love sprinkled in also. You can feel the family's commitment to each other and how much they truly care for each other. There are so many other little stories within this one book that it really opens your eyes to things you might not even know exist. This book was educational, as well as entertaining.

Thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read for an advance copy. I am reading some amazing and diverse books to start off 2018! This book packs a big punch, but is a powerful and important read. Written by a woman who is a journalist in the Middle East, this novel brings the Syrian refugee crisis to life in a way I never could have imagined. Narrated by Destiny, the journey of Tarek and his family, from their happy days in Syria to their escape to Europe, will inspire you to find out what more you can do to help make this world a better place. Abawi sends some very specific and direct messages to her readers at the end, which just makes the book all that more powerful. We've heard the horror stories of Syrian refugees, and now we do not need to wonder anymore what those journeys are like. Extremely well written and extremely thought-provoking.

I applied for this book because I was interested in reading about the conflict in Syria. Like most (hopefully?) people, I was horrified by images of the conflict that have been circulated in the media and on social media the last few years. I was hoping this book would help me understand the situation and what it's like to live through it better. After reading this book, while I think this subject is so, so important and also under-covered, I don't think this book deepened my understanding. The writing style was a little juvenile. The use of narrative voice was distracting and strange, and there was very much a recurring "telling rather than showing" going on. Lots of info-dumping. I was hoping this book would move me past just what I had read in the journalistic coverage of the conflict in Syria and into people's lives. It isn't a bad book - I even think people should read it, especially people who haven't kept up w/ the Syrian conflict, but I am still waiting for a better one.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes was heart-breaking, powerful, and thought-provoking in making you consider how you treat other human beings. The story told by Destiny follows Tareq and his family’s struggle to leave Syria after devastating events force them to leave their homelands in order to survive. Throughout their journey, they encounter multiple people who both dishearten them and empower them to continue on their journey. It was powerful to see the consequences of war and how they affect people who are just trying to live. Throughout the book, everyone expressed how there are good and bad people in Every nation and that the leaders views don’t necessarily represent the people’s views. This book also tells a little bit from the perspective of Alexia, an American college student who volunteers to help refugees leaving Turkey to enter Europe. This perspective allowed for a broader view on different refugee stories and how a flood of refugees affect the areas they are entering. It also gave some hope to Tareq and his family. I think one of the best things to keep in mind, is a request from Alexia “when you think that the world is against you, please take a moment and look for them- the helpers.“ While bad things happen, there are empathetic people out there helping others.

"The story of displacement and loss is woven into the fabric of human history. One day it's them, the next day it's you. But as generations pass, most forget that their people, too, have suffered. Some, though, still holds the empathy in their souls. But others choose not to, they choose to help themselves before helping others. Those are the souls who never find true happiness. Their hearts are never full." I feel like we should start off this review by saying that I actually teared up multiple times while reading and that doesn't normally happen for me. This book was so realistic and heartbreaking and now going to be the book that I recommend to everyone. So please go and get this book from a store or the library it doesn't matter and read it. You will learn so much and really see how many lives you can change in an instant. A Land Of permanent goodbyes is narrated by Destiny and follows two different people. Tareq who is a Syrian whose family is forced to leave after a tragedy happens and their journey through the middle east to get to safety. Then we have Alexia who is an American college student who is volunteering and helping refugees as they make it to Greece. "When your soul feels too much, that trauma makes a home in your heart. But it's not a weakness or even an illness. To feel so much means you can find empathy - when you can sense the pain of others, that is a power to hold on to. That is a power that can change the world you live in. But it's also a power that comes with a burden and pain." Tareq's family is very close and they feel somewhat safe even though a war has greatly changed their lives and has caused many nightmares and heartbreaks. Tareq is the oldest child and because of that helps out the most with his younger siblings and keeping track of them. This is a big thing once tragedy happens and his family is separated and he has to find them again. His being the oldest also means that he has a responsibility to help out more and hide what is happening from his younger siblings all while trying to help his dad make it out of the Middle East safely. The journey Tareq's family goes on is terrifying and realistic and really made me think about what is happening in the middle east and how many lives it is affecting and changing. There were so many times on this journey that I teared up and was so nervous for his family that I had to keep reading no matter what else was going on. "I hope you will provide the warmth, be that helper, do what you can to make that world a better place. Because when I meet you- and I will- there will be a reckoning. There always is." Alexia's story was also one that really showed how people are helping and how much help is still needed. I also loved how much she cared and wanted to truly help and wasn't there just to say she had done it. She cared about every person that she met and the losses that happened she felt and she wanted to be doing so much more as well. "Please don't be scared of us. We are more terrified of your reactions. We are broken people who are haunted by our past, our futures and our dreams. We narrowly escaped death, the war, the rapes, the murders and the killers - we have family who didn't- please don't think those monsters represent us." I'm honestly so so afraid of giving spoilers (because I want to talk about everything that happened in this book with someone) so I'm not going to say anything more about this book. Except please read it! Side note: I loved the Mr. Roger's reference and how it is still so so relevant in today's world.

Tareq is a Syrian teen who lives a happy existence with his parents, grandmother, two sisters and three brothers. But after his apartment building is bombed, it seems that only one sister and his father remain. Thus begins the frought journey to relocate in Europe, including perilous water crossings, encounters with human traffickers, and a constant barrage of heart-rending good-byes. I enjoyed this debut YA novel, which gives voice to the Syrian refugee experience. The finely researched and detailed novel is narrated by Destiny, which I found an unnecessary construct for this story. The tone and language skew on the younger side of young adult, yet the content contains explicit matter such as rape, brutality and graphic beheadings.

Summary: Destiny takes us through war torn Syria and other countries as one family tries to make a life in the midst of destruction.  After loosing his home, mother, grandmother, and several siblings to a bomb; Tareq understands that it’s time to leave Syria.  His father takes him and his sister Susan to the relative safety of his brother’s home.  What they find is a city under Daesh (Isis) control.  The city is in ruins and the citizens terrified.  Tareq and his cousin actually see a beheading.  When Daesh starts looking closely at the boys it is decided that they have to leave immediately. They made it into Turkey, legally, but the two cousins were separated from Fayed (the father) and Susan.  When things start going badly in Turkey, Tareq decides to try leaving for Germany with Susan while Musa remains behind.  Fayed will come later.  The trip is treacherous and not all his companions make it.  Once there, they make new friends and find some much needed support, but also closed borders and unhelpful governments.  Where will their new home be, and will they ever be accepted?  One friend told him, look for the helpers, and he tries.  Tareq knows that he should be grateful he still has his life, and some family.  He wants to be grateful- he has made a promise to be.  This is a story of life, death, love, war, pain and hope. My thoughts: Though this seems like a shorter novel to my way of thinking, it packs quite a punch.  I was excited by the idea of Destiny being my narrator as it’s something a bit unique.  It reminded me a bit of how Death walked us through The Book Thief.  Destiny was an interesting character in of themselves.  I liked their phrasing, and that they allowed some of their own thoughts and feelings in.  The characters- especially Tareq, were moving and I immediately found myself enthralled by their world and the plight.  Full of almost poetic descriptions and characters that will haunt you, this is a must have. I will say that it took a while to read.  The material gets very heavy- we are after all talking about war refugees here.  There were many times that I had to set the book aside for lighter fare.  I still wouldn’t have missed this book.  Awabi, through both Destiny and other characters, makes sure that we see the refugee crisis for what it is- a crisis.  We are forced to put a face to the masses and listen to their hopes and fears; as well as to get a small inkling of what they may have already been through.  When you’ve sobbed for Tareq’s family it is impossible to ignore the fact that these are just people.  They have the same hopes and desires we all do- safety, security, warmth…. who can say they aren’t worthy, that we can’t give them this as a country?  For me, this is a five star book.   On the adult content scale, there was some language but mostly there was violence.  A lot of violence.  Simply for the magnitude of violence, and the pain it caused me personally to read it, I have to give it a five.  I am still buying it for my niece. I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  My thanks.

"Every country has good people and bad people. Just like mine." What absolutely powerful lines from a relevant, thought-provoking, and emotionally charged novel. This book stirs empathy for fellow human beings who have been put into horrific situations, which most of us cannot fathom, just because they were born in a country that is war-torn. It has forever changed how I will look at refugees and makes me always want to be a helper in whatever way I can. While not an easy read (emotionally), I think everyone, regardless of age (above 12), religion, race, gender, socio-economic background, should read this book.

Tareq is fleeing the only home he has ever known in Syria after a bomb strikes his apartment killing most of his large, loving family. Fayed, Tareq's father, is taking the children he has left and finally doing what he wished he had done sooner. Get as far away from the war as possible. On this dangerous journey, they encounter beheadings, close brushes with the Daesh, checkpoints where they are forced to pay bribes to young, cruel soldiers, refugee camps, and greedy smugglers. Their story is told by Destiny, herself, and along the way, she talks about how the human heart and brain. How they can hold so much knowledge, creativity, love, and hate. Her omniscient narration leads you to feel for certain characters you might not have otherwise and her wisdom makes you understand all of these people are victims of others' choices and the consequences. Throughout the novel, Awabi wove everyday emotions into abnormal circumstances. Tareq feels butterflies for a young woman he meets waiting to cross the channel in the Aegean Sea to Greece. Then he climbs on a dinghy to risk his life. These moments interspersed where butterflies or bubbles of joy are there to remind you that the refugees are suffering but they're still human. Awabi also includes horrors that aren't regularly reported in the media but are real obstacles for people trying to flee Syria and war-torn areas of the Middle East. Fake lifejackets sold to refugees trying to cross to Greece. Children being abducted for the slave or sex trade. And maybe less sinister, but almost as debilitating, the treatment of Syrians by other nationalities and cultures. The large refugee population and their lack of belongings and resources have led to their restriction from jobs and many stores and restaurants along the way. While I get the main goal of the book was to make you feel for the refugee crisis and inspire you to help, there were several sections that were just background information about the area or the events that led to where they are now. I understand that Awabi might have thought this was necessary to understand the story and she's definitely qualified to provide this information, but I felt like it broke up the story a little bit too much. At times I would find it pulling me out of the story instead in. I think Awabi wanted everyone to come away with the idea that they can help. And I definitely think she succeeded. The stories of the volunteers in Greece and the different ways they can help. Also the emphasis on always looking for the people who are helping. One of the volunteers, Alexia, who is inspired by the Fred Rogers quote tells Tareq to always look for the people who are helping whenever he feels like no one cares or like everyone hates them. There will always be people who care and want to help. Lastly, the refugees in this novel reiterate again and again that all they want is to go home. They don't want to be a nuisance or a problem. If they can't stay in their homes, they only want to be safe. But even though many of their homes are destroyed and their family members gone, they long for their old home. There's this beautiful part in the novel where Tareq and his cousin happen to be a coffee shop in Istanbul with other Syrians during an open mic night. One young woman gets up to read something she wrote about their homeland. "My piece is called 'Goodbye, Syria.'" She took a deep breath before beginning. 'Goodbye, Syria, please forgive us.' 'Goodbye, Home - never leave us. We didn't want to go ...'"

Wow, this book was powerful and emotional. A tale of various lives impacted by the war in Syria, ISIS/Daesh and the Taliban, decades of unrest throughout the middle east, and both being and helping refugees - told simply and sadly in the voice of "Destiny" (aka "Fate). This one will stay with me for a long time.

Abawi begins her story with a quote from Fred Rogers, and the same quote is featured prominently near the end of the book, providing a nice frame. It is a quote in which he describes the advice his mother gave him on how to cope with disaster: look for the helpers. In any disaster, look for the humanity, the helpers (rather than focusing on the hunters, those benefitting from the suffering), those offering kindness. Abawi takes Mr. Rogers' advice to heart as an author and shows us the hope and humanity amidst the suffering in Syria's refugees' experience. She focuses on the story of one young man and his young sister, but their paths cross those of many others. The language is simplistic, with what I would usually call a lot of telling rather than showing, but the story is already heartbreaking, and I'm afraid more showing would make it even more painful, so I think the tone works. It is narrated by Destiny herself (itself?), and that's a little odd, but somehow it works, too. The combination of the language, the innocence of the main characters, and the focus on hope and helpers makes this appropriate for a wide variety of readers, including YA and adults. I got a copy to review from First to Read.

A LAND OF PERMANENT GOODBYES is a YA novel about a Syrian teen refugee forced to leave his war torn country and make his way to Greece and Germany. An interesting aspect is that Destiny is the narrator of the story that’s obviously been researched thoroughly. The novel will definitely stir compassion – for the plight of immigrants and refugees alike. A must read for adults as well as teens

Tareq and his family are living in Syria, a country torn apart by war, when tragedy strikes his family. A horrific bombing claims the lives of many of his family members. Tareq and his surviving family members know the only way they can stay alive is if they leave the country they call home. But life as a refugee is no less dangerous as they make their journey from one country to the next. Told from the perspective of Destiny, this is a story about war, destruction, family, and love. I'll admit I was a little iffy about reading a story told from Destiny's perspective but it ended up working in the story's favor and didn't overshadow the rest of the characters. Obviously, this is a timely story given the current events in Syria, but Destiny shows war has been destroying innocent lives for centuries. While Tareq and his family might be fictional characters, what they experience in the story is very accurate to the real life stories from refugees. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a better understanding of the plight of the refugees. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

This book reminded me of Salt Houses by Hala Alyan - which is set in Palestine. ALOPG is more like a mix of that and The Book Thief. The subject of what is happening in Syria is something I have been following for a while, so reading the book was not an easy experience. However, sometimes I found the POV shifts and the grammar incorrect which affected the reading experience. I must say however, that this book needs to be read by people so as to understand the ground situation in Syria today.

Absolutely phenomenal! A beautifully written, yet heart wrenching story of the struggle for survival in the war torn Middle East. Narrated by Destiny personified, this novel depicts the tragic experiences of a Syrian youth, and his determination to find a safer world for his sister. Without a doubt.......a MUST READ!

I would highly recommend everyone read this book. It actually should be required reading. Narrated by Destiny, this book will open your eyes to the terrible, heartbreaking plight of the refugees from the worn torn countries in the middle east. A powerful book that I urge everyone to read.

 


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