No Friend but the Mountains

No Friend but the Mountains

Writing From Manus Prison

Book - 2018
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Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains. In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since. People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests. This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile. Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?
Publisher: Sydney :, Picador,, 2018.
Branch Call Number: 325.21 BOO
Characteristics: xxxiv, 374 pages ;,24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Tofighian, Omid
Notes: Includes bibliographical references.


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From Library Staff

A remarkable first-hand account of the traumas inflicted on refugees at Manus Island Detention Centre. Incredibly, this story was written and relayed through thousands of WhatsApp messages. This is a damning look at Australia’s border control policies, which should be a source of national shame f... Read More »

Kurdish Journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island after attempting to seek political asylum in Australia. This extraordinary book was written from his incarceration, painstakingly sent out via WhatsApp, and weaving in stories of his past, his exile, and his life during im... Read More »

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STPL_JessH Sep 11, 2019

Let me say first, that I am grateful for this book. It is an incredibly brave piece, and a valuable record of life in deplorable conditions. I was so moved by the poetic nature of this work which is at once philosophical and painstakingly concrete.

I admit that I found Boochani's writing troubling at times. I was confused in the moments he writes as though he can speak for all prisoners or knows what they are thinking. At times, Boochani also demonstrates his difference from other prisoners in a way that can be read as patronizing or proud though he is careful to point out that he is not being proud (235). I also found some of Boochani's descriptions of women really problematic.

That said, this book is literary, poetic, and a valuable record of what it means to be imprisoned in an immigrant detention centre under inhumane conditions.

Aug 10, 2019

A deeply reflective narrative of escape and the experiences of being close to despair and hope, life and death. Intense. Highlights the physical and psychological impact of the monotony and isolation of life imprisoned on Manus. Darkness of captors when there is no humanity. Quite a slow intense read.

Colleenita Jun 30, 2019

This book is simply astounding on all levels - the Manus setting, circumstances of publication and the extremely powerful and poetic writing make it a very special work. I would advise skipping the rather academic and conceptual translator's intro - and there's another essay at the end anyway. It is a daunting lead-in. Just start reading the main body.

Mar 01, 2019

Winner of Australia's Victorian Prize for literature, although the author is not allowed to accept the prize in person.

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