No Friend But the Mountains

Writing from Manus Prison

by Behrouz Boochani,

WINNER OF THE VICTORIAN PREMIER'S LITERARY PRIZE FOR LITERATURE AND FOR NON-FICTION 2019

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?

WINNER OF THE NSW PREMIER'S AWARD 2019

WINNER OF THE ABIA GENERAL FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019

PRAISE FOR NO FRIEND BUT THE MOUNTAINS

"Boochani has produced a literary, journalistic and philosophical tour de force. It may well stand as one of the most important books published in Australia in two decades..." The Saturday Paper

"A chant, a cry from the heart, a lament, fuelled by a fierce urgency, written with the lyricism of a poet, the literary skills of a novelist, and the profound insights of an astute observer of human behaviour and the ruthless politics of a cruel and unjust imprisonment." Arnold Zable, author of the award-winning Jewels and Ashes and Cafe Scheherazade

"a shattering book every Australian should read" Benjamin Law (@mrbenjaminlaw 01/02/2019)

"In the absence of images, turn to this book to fathom what we have done, what we continue to do. It is, put simply, the most extraordinary and important book I have ever read." Good Reading Magazine (starred review)

"Brilliant writing. Brilliant thinking. Brilliant courage." Professor Marcia Langton AM (@marcialangton 01/02/2019)

"Not for the faint-hearted, it's a powerful, devastating insight into a situation that's so often seen through a political - not personal - lens." GQ Australia

"It is an unforgettable account of man's inhumanity to man that reads like something out of Orwell or Kafka, and is aptly described by Tofighian as 'horrific surrealism'. It is clear from Boochani's writing that he is a highly educated and philosophical man; he segues effortlessly between prose and poetry, both equally powerful." -The Australian Financial Review Magazine

"Behrouz Boochani has written a book which is as powerful as it is poetic and moving. He describes his experience of living in a refugee prison with profound insight and intelligence." Queensland Reviewers Collective

"In his book Boochani introduces us to different dimensions of his experience and thinking. Both a profound creative writing project and a strategic act of resistance, the book is part of a coherent theoretical project and critical approach." Omid Tofighian, translator of No Friend But the Mountains

"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." Readings

"Boochani has woven his own experiences in to a tale which is at once beautiful and harrowing, creating a valuable contribution to Australia's literary canon." Writing NSW

"it is a voice of witness and an act of survival" Law Society of NSW Journal

  • Pan Macmillan Australia; July 2018
  • ISBN: 9781760780852
  • Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
  • Title: No Friend But the Mountains
  • Author: Behrouz Boochani; Omid Tofighian (trans.)
  • Imprint: Picador Australia

About The Author

Behrouz Boochani holds a Masters degree in political geography and geopolitics. He is a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, scholar, cultural advocate, writer and filmmaker, founder of the Kurdish language magazine Weya, an Honorary Member of PEN International. In 2013, he fled Iran and became a political prisoner of the Australian Government incarcerated in the Manus Regional Processing Centre (Papua New Guinea).

Translator Dr Omid Tofighian is a lecturer, researcher and community advocate based at the American University of Cairo and University of Sydney. His work combines philosophy with interests in rhetoric, religion, popular culture, transnationalism, displacement and discrimination. He contributes to community arts and cultural projects and works with asylum seekers, refugees and young people from Western Sydney. He has published numerous book chapters and journal articles and is author of Myth and Philosophy in Platonic Dialogues (Palgrave 2016). He has translated a number of articles for Behrouz Boochani for the Guardian.