No Turning back

Author: Rania Abouzeid
Genre: Non-Fiction, World Affairs
Quote: “Whoever stays silent about the truth is a mute devil,”
Setting: Syria – Present
Premise: No turning back is a masterpiece of a work by journalist Rania Abouzeid who spent six years collecting these impactful stories from Syrians on all sides of the war. In mid 2013 the UN abandoned trying to count Syrian casualties due to difficulties in verifying the information, estimates put the death toll at 500,000 and half of the population is displaced. This book is history in its purest form, and Rania’s dedication to capture these stories is awe inspiring.

This is more than a book. It’s the shattered lives of university students, of doctors, of teachers, of office managers, of aunts, of uncles, of mothers, fathers, children, and every soul who has watched their home, friends, and family blow up. Every page of this book is a recorded history over 6 years of conflict.

Rania’s writing style is captivating from the start, winding through the twists and turns of the main cast’s lives and showing how they changed, from the jokes in the darkness, to the heart wrenching decisions, and even to the games played by the children. You can navigate this book either chronologically, or by cast. The first time I read this I went chronologically, the second time I jumped to the character’s chapters to read their stories in isolation. The life I became the most invested in was that of Ruha, a nine-year-old girl and her family. Every now and again I had to shake myself to remember that this was not a story, it was her life.

This book is about loss and war, but it is also about life and hope and a bravery. Syria has not had a happy ending so far, but it’s people still fight on. Not just as soldiers, but as people who live and dream.

I will not lie, this is an emotionally difficult book to read. But it’s worth every pang of horror at what these people have gone through for the ability to have empathy with those behind the monotone news reports on this now out-of-fashion topic for our media, and with empathy comes kindness. As a side note, Rania donates some profits from her book directly Inara an apolitical nonsectarian charity that provides medical care for children who cannot access proper treatment due to war.

You’ve heard enough about how much I like this book, but is this book you’re hunting for?
1. Do you want to expand your knowledge?
2. Do you want to read something that really matters?
3. Are you interested in learning more about Syria?

If you answered yes, yES, YES! Then this might well be your next favourite read!

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