A Very Large Expanse Of Sea
is my first Tahereh Mafi book and for sure not the last. I´ve been touched, got emotionally involved, was shocked and incredibly moved while reading this novel. The world is such a harsh place for some and the cruelty some of us experience while trying to live their life is one of the many things the author talks about in this book.

Wie Du Mich Siehst*
by Tahereh Mafi
Translation Katarina Ganslandt
Original Title A Very Large Expanse Of Sea
Publisher Fischer Sauerländer on October 23, 2019
Genre Novel
Pages 349
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

A small ton in the USA: Shirin´s everyday life has become a nightmare. She´s had enough of the insolent looks, the humiliating comments and the physical attacks she has to endure because she is a Muslim and wears a hijab. She takes refuge in listening to music and in breakdance training with her brother and his friends. Shirin has decided not to trust anyone anymore. Until she meets the boy Ocean at her new high school. He is the first person in a long time who really wants to get to know Shirin. Startled, Shirin harshly rejects him. For her, Ocean is from a world from which hate and rejection have so far been the main confrontation. But then everything turns out differently… (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary).
Shirin is sick and tired of having to be – again – the new girl at school. She stopped counting how often she and her family had to move because of her parents´ undying wish to have a better life and start for their children. But again, she is the new girl, the one who frightens her classmates because of the fact that she is a Muslim and wears a hijab. And when she meets Ocean James, everything changes.

Tahereh Mafi has a unique way to point out things. She writes in a clear but blunt way about how people treat everything that is different in a harsh, if not to say, brutal way. The author writes openly about all the emotions, feelings, and situations she is only too familiar with and shows her readers a side of the medal that isn´t beautiful. The world is a cruel place, hard, unfairly, and reacts with fear, anger, and violence to everything that is different from what the person is used to or knows. The author strikes right in the heart with this novel.

Shirin is a teenager who is very familiar with starting school at a new school. It is always the same and she is sick and tired of it. But when she meets Ocean James and starts to discover how it feels falling in love with someone, she finally begins to realize that she might have done what she always accused others around her of doing with her. I was very impressed when I read that scene where Shirin is honest with herself and sees that she made mistakes herself and that she did exactly all the things she never wanted to do but did to keep others from hurting her. For me, Shirin is an exceptional teenager who is willing to learn and change as long as she can be her true self and keep her principles. What a remarkable girl!

This book is awesome! A brilliantly well-written novel that shows not only an emotional story, which is mercilessly honest, brutal, and sensitive but also presents a main figure that speaks about her life with irony and sarcasm. In the end, I was very impressed by Shirin and had to think about a lot. This is no novel you can finish and then go on with your life as if you never read this book. This one leaves an impact on you one way or another. If not, you can´t be human. So if this title is new to you, read it and see for yourself how the world is seen by others and how Tahereh Mafi writes about it. Highly recommended.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer Sauerländer in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

The book was originally published A Very Large Expanse Of Sea by Harper Teen on October 16, 2018.

Tahereh Mafi
Tahereh Mafi ©Tana Gandhi

Tahereh Mafi was born in 1988 in a small town in Connecticut, USA. She is of Iranian descent and the youngest of five siblings along with four older brothers. Her debut novel “Shatter Me”, the first volume of a trilogy, was published in the USA in 2011, has been translated into over 30 languages and was on the bestseller lists of the New York Times and USA Today. Mafi is married to filmmaker and writer Ransom Riggs and lives with her family in Santa Monica, California.


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