No Land to Light On by Yara Zgheib

Thank you to Allen and Unwin and Readers First for this beautiful hardback copy of No Land to Light On by Sara Zgheib to read and review. I’m sharing my thoughts today for this recently published book.


Boston, 2017: When Hadi returns to his heavily pregnant partner Sama after a trip to Jordan to bury his father, he is stopped at border control – a hostile new immigration law has just been enacted – while she awaits him on the other side. 

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 any more, 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.

My thoughts:

Having read the opening chapters on Readers First, I was keen to find out what happened next to Haidi and Sama. I read this book last week as millions of refugees left Ukraine, and this made for an even more emotional read.

Sama has lived in the United States for a number of years, having studied at Harvard University for a number of years. She is married to a more recently arrived Haidi, who has had to travel to Jordan, to bury his father, who died whilst waiting to visit the embassy to join his son and family in the United States.

Haidi and Sama find themselves trapped on different continents after the new United States president imposes a travel ban, leaving Haidi unable to rejoin Sama.

Alongside the story of Haidi and Sama, there is reference to the migration of birds, and a reminder about how the actions of some people change the lives of other people and birds.

This isn’t a book I would normally pick, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it. It is beautifully written, and a reminder about how our world has evolved as people move to live in different countries. At what stage, do you feel ‘at home’ when you move to live in a different country?

Happy to recommend this thought provoking book.

Author Bio:

Yara Zgheib is the author of the critically acclaimed The Girls at 17 Swann Street, which was a People pick for best new books and received rave reviews from The New York Times Book ReviewPublishers WeeklyKirkus ReviewsBooklist, and Bustle.

She is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University and a PhD in international affairs in diplomacy from Centre d’ Études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques in Paris.

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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