A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

Atia Abawi


Philomel

April 2018

$19.99 AU

380p pb

ISBN: 978-0525516019

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A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi is a heartbreaking story of the journey of a young Syrian refugee boy and his duty to protect his family. His home country, Syria, has been torn apart by war and multiple rebel fighters attack every day. Filled with loss, grief and the desperation for a better life in Europe he and his family make their way towards their future. Throughout their voyage they face death, poverty and discrimination. The book is narrated by destiny, who shares the flaws and achievements of humanity. The use of destiny as the narrator allows the author to share many important and touching concepts with the reader. 

The novel itself is gripping. I would usually avoid such a genre due to the fact that I find these types of novels too sad and confronting, but I found myself reaching for A Land of Permanent Goodbyes whenever I had the chance. It is easy to read apart from the fact that you have to continuously flip to the translations in the back of the book as multiple languages other than English are used. Some of the phrases used aren’t translated as phrases but as single words so it can become confusing. The author uses a range of techniques to convey her story including imagery, dialogue and other literary works such as a fictional poem written and read by one of the characters named “Goodbye, Syria”.

The introduction is smart and well planned, and instantly lures the reader in, however, I found the cliff-hanger of a conclusion annoying. I desperately wanted the story to continue instead of being explained in the epilogue. I felt that the ending let down an otherwise great book with great insight on the struggle of refugees and the countries and people who have taken them in.

Overall this was an extremely realistic, well planned out novel. I definitely recommend this book to any young adult reader who is not too affected by sad stories as it can be quite sad and even at times depressing.

Simone, age 14


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