cover image A Good Country

A Good Country

Laleh Khadivi. Bloomsbury, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-63286-584-7

Concluding a trilogy that began with 2009’s The Age of Orphans and continued with 2013’s The Walking, Khadivi’s stunning and timely portrait of the radicalization of a young Iranian-American man delicately examines the intersections between history, family, religion, and love, asking important questions about identity and our responsibility to the places we come from. Born and raised in southern California to immigrant parents, Rez Courdee is a typical American teenager: pushed to succeed at school and make his parents proud, he rebels with drugs and alcohol, partying, hooking up with girls, and spending long days in the sun on his surfboard. But he falls out with his group of friends after a disastrous surfing trip in Mexico and is welcomed instead into a circle of other children of immigrants who become targets of hate after a terror attack rocks the community. Encouraged by his new friends, Rez learns more about his ancestral heritage, Islam, and the ongoing war in Syria, slowly pulling away from who he was before and looking ahead into an unknown future. Khadivi masterfully succeeds in pulling off a deep and searching investigation into Rez’s journey from one world to another, following through on her relentlessly emotional vision all the way to its wrenching conclusion. This is a heartbreaking coming-of-age story about the world we live in now. (May)