No Light to Land On, Yara Zgheib

What an absolutely stunning book! This is one of those books that I got caught up in and forgot to make notes. But I did highlight so many things that were beautiful or resonated with me in one way or another. I appreciate that Zgheib showed the repercussions of the travel ban and how people were unknowingly coerced into signing away their rights.

I read another review that essentially said that people need to become a citizen legally. Thus pretty much shrugging their shoulders and blaming it on “illegals,” which is just so closed-minded and not what we’re dealing with in this story because Hadi and Sama were here on proper visas; they came here legally. Then, racism swooped in and took away their rights.

I don’t tend to compare an author’s works to their other works, but I feel it’s apt here. The thing I loved about The Girls at 17 Swann St. was the stilted writing because I felt it represented Anna’s struggle to eat. But this couple is going through a lot, their lives are in turmoil, and I think that writing style works here too. Perhaps this is the author’s writing style overall, but it works here.

There are many subtle nuances here and some straight spelling things out. That we outsourced our torture to other countries is absolutely true. If that doesn’t horrify you, perhaps this book isn’t the right one for you. But I do hope people will give this a chance because it’s a stunningly beautiful read. Thank you, Atria Books, for sending this along.

Read and like this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.

No Land to Light on is available on Amazon, Bookshop, and B&N.

About the Book:
Hadi and Sama are a young Syrian couple flying high on a whirlwind love, dreaming up a life in the country that brought them together. She had come to Boston years before chasing dreams of a bigger life; he’d landed there as a sponsored refugee from a bloody civil war. Now, they are giddily awaiting the birth of their son, a boy whose native language would be freedom and belonging.

When Sama is five months pregnant, Hadi’s father dies suddenly in Jordan, the night before his visa appointment at the embassy. Hadi flies back for the funeral, promising his wife that he’ll only be gone for a few days. On the day his flight is due to arrive in Boston, Sama is waiting for him at the airport, eager to bring him back home. But as the minutes and then hours pass, she continues to wait, unaware that Hadi has been stopped at the border and detained for questioning, trapped in a timeless, nightmarish limbo.

Worlds apart, suspended between hope and disillusion as hours become days become weeks, Sama and Hadi yearn for a way back to each other, and to the life they’d dreamed up together. But does that life exist anymore, or was it only an illusion?

Achingly intimate yet poignantly universal, No Land to Light On is the story of a family caught up in forces beyond their control, fighting for the freedom and home they found in one another.


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