No Friend but the Mountains: Writing from Manus Prison

Anansi International. Jun. 2019. 416p. ISBN 9781487006839. pap. $18.95; ebk. ISBN 9781487006846. POL SCI
In 2013, Kurdish journalist Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island, a refugee detention site off the coast of Australia founded by the Australian government. He has been there ever since. Over a period of five years, the author recorded his experiences by text message to his first interpreter and translator, Moones Mansoubi, who organized them based on Boochani’s instructions. Translator Omid Tofighian continues the story. The result is a modern classic of prison literature, even if the entire episode wasn’t technically in a prison but a detention center in Papua New Guinea. The mix of genres addresses what it means to be human and a refugee in countries that have become, in their response to the crisis, a modern version of Hannah Arendt’s “banality of evil.” Boochani provides a personal look at what is happening in these gray zones of the borderlands.
VERDICT This book has already received several awards for literature from the very government that caused the humanitarian crisis on Manus Island. Here, readers will find a powerful firsthand account of how governments have created sites of state violence against people searching for freedom.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing