A Good Country: A Novel

By Laleh Khadivi
Read by Assaf Cohen

8.92 Hours 05/23/2017 unabridged
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A timely novel about the radicalization of a Muslim teen in California—about where identity truly lies, and how we find it Laguna Beach, California, 2010. Reza Courdee, a fourteen-year-old straight-A student and chemistry whiz, takes his first hit of pot. In as long as it takes to inhale and exhale, he is transformed from the high-achieving son of Iranian immigrants into a happy-go-lucky stoner. He loses his virginity, takes up surfing, and sneaks away to all-night raves. For the first time, Reza—now Rez—feels like an American teen. Life is smooth; even lying to his strict parents comes easily. But then he changes again, falling out with the bad boy surfers and in with a group of kids more awake to the world around them, who share his background, and whose ideas fill him with a very different sense of purpose. Within a year, Reza and his girlfriend are making their way to Syria to be part of a Muslim nation rising from the ashes of the civil war. Timely, nuanced, and emotionally forceful, A Good Country is a gorgeous meditation on modern life, religious radicalization, and a young man caught among vastly different worlds. What we are left with at the dramatic end is not an assessment of good or evil, east versus west, but a lingering question that applies to all modern souls: Do we decide how to live, or is our life decided for us?

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Summary

Summary

Kirkus Reviews Pick for Best Books Out This Week

A timely novel about the radicalization of a Muslim teen in California—about where identity truly lies, and how we find it

Laguna Beach, California, 2010. Reza Courdee, a fourteen-year-old straight-A student and chemistry whiz, takes his first hit of pot. In as long as it takes to inhale and exhale, he is transformed from the high-achieving son of Iranian immigrants into a happy-go-lucky stoner. He loses his virginity, takes up surfing, and sneaks away to all-night raves. For the first time, Reza—now Rez—feels like an American teen. Life is smooth; even lying to his strict parents comes easily.

But then he changes again, falling out with the bad boy surfers and in with a group of kids more awake to the world around them, who share his background, and whose ideas fill him with a very different sense of purpose. Within a year, Reza and his girlfriend are making their way to Syria to be part of a Muslim nation rising from the ashes of the civil war.

Timely, nuanced, and emotionally forceful, A Good Country is a gorgeous meditation on modern life, religious radicalization, and a young man caught among vastly different worlds. What we are left with at the dramatic end is not an assessment of good or evil, east versus west, but a lingering question that applies to all modern souls: Do we decide how to live, or is our life decided for us?

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Powerful…With insightful, often moving prose, dialogue so exact it echoes from the page, and a stunning balance between compassion and merciless (often damning) realism, Khadivi begins to unravel one of the mysteries of the modern political era, which isn’t about politics at all but is entirely contained within the flawed and insatiable human heart.” New York Times
“In scene after vibrant scene, [Khadivi] suggests the forces that turn individuals into radicals…[and] delivers an unusual and thought-provoking look at the process.” Mercury News
“You won’t want the book to end. You will want to follow Rez. You will want to hear what happens next. A brilliant novel about a young man’s reckoning with a flawed and violent world.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Brilliantly channeling the minds of angst-filled teenagers with barely formed worldviews who seesaw between brash self-confidence and deflating insecurities…An important, smart, timely novel.” Library Journal (starred review)
“The story unfolds deftly, beautifully capturing the psychology of an American teen who goes down the path of radicalization; readers will understand what would motivate a sheltered, shortsighted young person to run away to join extremists. School Library Journal (starred review)
“Khadivi’s carefully crafted, masterful novel illustrates how the perfect storm of teenage cruelty, racism, and tragedy can create an extremist.” Booklist (starred review)
“Stunning…This is a heartbreaking coming-of-age story about the world we live in now.” Publishers Weekly

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Laleh Khadivi

Laleh Khadivi was born in Esfahan, Iran, in 1977. She received her MFA from Mills College and was a Creative Writing Fellow at Emory University. She is the author of The Age of Orphans, a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers pick; and The Walking, among others. She has been awarded a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and an NEA Literature Fellowship. She has also worked as a director, producer, and cinematographer of documentary films. Khadivi lives in Northern California.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Literary
Runtime: 8.92
Audience: Adult
Language: English