If "every story is the sound of a storyteller begging to stay alive..." as Daniel says, then he and his family deserve to live forever--purely off the crackling energy of these tales and the way they will echo in your mind long after the words have been read. Part musings on truth and memory, part memoir of a young immigrant trying to find his place in midwest America, this book will captivate and resonate with a wide variety of readers.
To anyone who has ever wondered about their history, struggled to understand their family, or been a victim of bureaucracy; to the children of strong mothers, the parents of observant children, and the family members of angry adults that should know better; to lovers of poetry and folklore and far off places; to anyone (so everyone!) with flaws--you will find a kindred spirit here.
A National Indie Bestseller An NPR Best Book of the Year A New York Times Best Book of the Year An Amazon Best Book of the Year A Booklist Editors' Choice A BookPage Best Book of the Year A NECBA Windows & Mirrors Selection A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year A Today.com Best of the Year
"A modern masterpiece."—The New York Times Book Review
"Supple, sparkling and original." —The Wall Street Journal
"This book could change the world."—BookPage
"Like nothing else you've read or ever will read."—Linda Sue Park
"It hooks you right from the opening line."—NPR
SEVEN STARRED REVIEWS
★ "A modern epic."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "A rare treasure of a book." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "A story that soars." —The Bulletin, starred review
★ "At once beautiful and painful."—School Library Journal, starred review
★ "Raises the literary bar in children's lit." —Booklist, starred review
★ "Poignant and powerful." —Foreword Reviews, starred review
★ "One of the most extraordinary books of the year." —BookPage, starred review
A sprawling, evocative, and groundbreaking autobiographical novel told in the unforgettable and hilarious voice of a young Iranian refugee. It is a powerfully layered novel that poses the questions: Who owns the truth? Who speaks it? Who believes it?
"A patchwork story is the shame of the refugee," Nayeri writes early in the novel. In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family's history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel's story of how they became refugees—starting with his mother's vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense, and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane-to-anywhere. Anywhere becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy, and then finally asylum in the U.S. Implementing a distinct literary style and challenging western narrative structures, Nayeri deftly weaves through stories of the long and beautiful history of his family in Iran, adding a richness of ancient tales and Persian folklore.
Like Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights in a hostile classroom, Daniel spins a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. EVERYTHING SAD IS UNTRUE (a true story) is a tale of heartbreak and resilience and urges readers to speak their truth and be heard.
About the Author
Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the publisher of Odd Dot, an imprint of Macmillan, making him one of the youngest publishers in the industry. He has served on the CBC diversity committee and the CBC panel committee.
"Like nothing else you've read or ever will read."-Newbery Medalist, Linda Sue Park
"A modern epic." - KIRKUS REVIEWS ( starred review)
"A story that soars. Readers will be transported."- BCCB (starred review)
"A distinctive voice. A rare treasure of a book." - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)
"Poignant and powerful. A story of heartbreak and resilience." - FOREWORD REVIEWS (starred review)
"One of the most extraordinary books of the year."- BOOKPAGE ( starred review)
"A journey as intimate as it is epic. A remarkable work that raises the literary bar in children's lit."- BOOKLIST (starred review)
"At once beautiful and painful, this timely story is highly recommended for middle grade readers."- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)
"A modern masterpiece - as epic as the "Iliad" and "Shahnameh," and as heartwarming as "Charlotte's Web." It's for the kids at the lunch table; the heroes of tomorrow, just looking to survive the battle of adolescence." - NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"Supple, sparkling and original." - THE WALL STREET JOURNAL