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Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi was born under the sign of exile. The author’s striking name combines Persian and Dutch, evoking two very different worlds which seep into her work in unwieldy and whimsical ways. Reading the Iranian-American’s new novel Call Me Zebra is a journey through what the writer calls the “psychosis of exile”—a dark descent into the depths of an identity crisis Oloomi is all too familiar with.

The book recounts the tale of “Zebra” Hosseini, a 22-year-old “literary terrorist” who along with her father flees a war in Iran that claims her mother’s life. (“Iran was no longer a place to think,” Oloomi writes. “Not even the Caspian was safe. We had to flee. We had to go into exile. We departed: numb, astonished, bewildered.”)

Riddled with grief and bitter nostalgia, the Hosseinis start anew and settle in New York, seeking refuge only in books. When Zebra’s father passes away, she embarks on a “Grand Tour of Exile” by way of Barcelona to retrace the steps of her family’s dislocation, and to preserve the Hosseinis’ literary legacy, now threatened not only by oceans but by a heightened sense of mourning and loss. Zebra repeatedly reminds the reader that she carries this peculiar responsibility as she is the last of a long line of “autodidacts, anarchists, and atheists.”

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi was born under the sign of exile. The author’s striking name combines Persian and Dutch, evoking two very different worlds which seep into her work in unwieldy and whimsical ways. Reading the Iranian-American’s new novel Call Me Zebra is a journey through what the writer calls the “psychosis of exile”—a dark descent into the depths of an identity crisis Oloomi is all too familiar with.

The book recounts the tale of “Zebra” Hosseini, a 22-year-old “literary terrorist” who along with her father flees a war in Iran that claims her mother’s life. (“Iran was no longer a place to think,” Oloomi writes. “Not even the Caspian was safe. We had to flee. We had to go into exile. We departed: numb, astonished, bewildered.”)

Riddled with grief and bitter nostalgia, the Hosseinis start anew and settle in New York, seeking refuge only in books. When Zebra’s father passes away, she embarks on a “Grand Tour of Exile” by way of Barcelona to retrace the steps of her family’s dislocation, and to preserve the Hosseinis’ literary legacy, now threatened not only by oceans but by a heightened sense of mourning and loss. Zebra repeatedly reminds the reader that she carries this peculiar responsibility as she is the last of a long line of “autodidacts, anarchists, and atheists.”

With their powerful blend of political and aesthetic concerns, Edward W. Said ’s writings have transformed the field of literary studies. This long-awaited collection of literary and cultural essays, the first since Harvard University Press published The World, the Text, and the Critic in 1983, reconfirms what no one can doubt—that Said is the most impressive, consequential, and elegant critic of our time—and offers further evidence of how much the fully engaged critical mind can contribute to the reservoir of value, thought, and action essential to our lives and our culture.

Now Available: The digital Loeb Classical Library ( loebclassics.com ) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.

Find new facing-page translations of classic works from the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library , I Tatti Renaissance Library , Loeb Classical Library , and Murty Classical Library of India .

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi was born under the sign of exile. The author’s striking name combines Persian and Dutch, evoking two very different worlds which seep into her work in unwieldy and whimsical ways. Reading the Iranian-American’s new novel Call Me Zebra is a journey through what the writer calls the “psychosis of exile”—a dark descent into the depths of an identity crisis Oloomi is all too familiar with.

The book recounts the tale of “Zebra” Hosseini, a 22-year-old “literary terrorist” who along with her father flees a war in Iran that claims her mother’s life. (“Iran was no longer a place to think,” Oloomi writes. “Not even the Caspian was safe. We had to flee. We had to go into exile. We departed: numb, astonished, bewildered.”)

Riddled with grief and bitter nostalgia, the Hosseinis start anew and settle in New York, seeking refuge only in books. When Zebra’s father passes away, she embarks on a “Grand Tour of Exile” by way of Barcelona to retrace the steps of her family’s dislocation, and to preserve the Hosseinis’ literary legacy, now threatened not only by oceans but by a heightened sense of mourning and loss. Zebra repeatedly reminds the reader that she carries this peculiar responsibility as she is the last of a long line of “autodidacts, anarchists, and atheists.”

With their powerful blend of political and aesthetic concerns, Edward W. Said ’s writings have transformed the field of literary studies. This long-awaited collection of literary and cultural essays, the first since Harvard University Press published The World, the Text, and the Critic in 1983, reconfirms what no one can doubt—that Said is the most impressive, consequential, and elegant critic of our time—and offers further evidence of how much the fully engaged critical mind can contribute to the reservoir of value, thought, and action essential to our lives and our culture.

Now Available: The digital Loeb Classical Library ( loebclassics.com ) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.

Find new facing-page translations of classic works from the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library , I Tatti Renaissance Library , Loeb Classical Library , and Murty Classical Library of India .

“J’Accuse!” Writer Émile Zola fled France today 114 years ago to escape imprisonment after being convicted for libel. He defended the innocence of a Jewish artillery captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus. The L’Assommoir  author directed his letter — published in newspaper L’Aurore — at France’s President Félix Faure and the government, citing anti-Semitism and judicial corruption in the unlawful jailing of Dreyfus for espionage. Zola quickly took off to London and later returned to see Dreyfus pardoned.

History has proven that honest, intellectual, and creative freethinkers can be deemed dangerous — demonized and ostracized by their own societies. Many have been banished, but some have left their native countries of their own accord. Oddly enough, the experience has been a catalyst for some of literature’s finest work. See what famous figures made our list of literary exiles below.

Poet-politician Dante was exiled from Florence for supporting the Holy Roman Emperor (White Guelphs) over the Papacy (Black Guelphs). The banishment lasted Dante’s entire life, but influenced his masterpiece The Divine Comedy , which clearly expresses a parallel to his real-life experiences of wandering through “hell” seeking protection. Also see: lots of eternal damnation directed at the big bad.

In some cases the deposed head of state is allowed to go into exile following a coup or other change of government, allowing a more peaceful transition to take place or to escape justice. [3]

In some cases a person voluntarily lives in exile to avoid legal issues, such as litigation or criminal prosecution . An example of this is Asil Nadir , who fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for 17 years rather than face prosecution in connection with the failed £1.7 bn company Polly Peck in the United Kingdom .

When a large group, or occasionally a whole people or nation is exiled, it can be said that this nation is in exile, or "diaspora". Nations that have been in exile for substantial periods include the Jews , who were deported by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BC and again following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. Many Jewish prayers include a yearning to return to Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland.

From: ELH
Volume 76, Number 1, Spring 2009
pp. 131-152 | 10.1353/elh.0.0038

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Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi was born under the sign of exile. The author’s striking name combines Persian and Dutch, evoking two very different worlds which seep into her work in unwieldy and whimsical ways. Reading the Iranian-American’s new novel Call Me Zebra is a journey through what the writer calls the “psychosis of exile”—a dark descent into the depths of an identity crisis Oloomi is all too familiar with.

The book recounts the tale of “Zebra” Hosseini, a 22-year-old “literary terrorist” who along with her father flees a war in Iran that claims her mother’s life. (“Iran was no longer a place to think,” Oloomi writes. “Not even the Caspian was safe. We had to flee. We had to go into exile. We departed: numb, astonished, bewildered.”)

Riddled with grief and bitter nostalgia, the Hosseinis start anew and settle in New York, seeking refuge only in books. When Zebra’s father passes away, she embarks on a “Grand Tour of Exile” by way of Barcelona to retrace the steps of her family’s dislocation, and to preserve the Hosseinis’ literary legacy, now threatened not only by oceans but by a heightened sense of mourning and loss. Zebra repeatedly reminds the reader that she carries this peculiar responsibility as she is the last of a long line of “autodidacts, anarchists, and atheists.”

With their powerful blend of political and aesthetic concerns, Edward W. Said ’s writings have transformed the field of literary studies. This long-awaited collection of literary and cultural essays, the first since Harvard University Press published The World, the Text, and the Critic in 1983, reconfirms what no one can doubt—that Said is the most impressive, consequential, and elegant critic of our time—and offers further evidence of how much the fully engaged critical mind can contribute to the reservoir of value, thought, and action essential to our lives and our culture.

Now Available: The digital Loeb Classical Library ( loebclassics.com ) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.

Find new facing-page translations of classic works from the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library , I Tatti Renaissance Library , Loeb Classical Library , and Murty Classical Library of India .

“J’Accuse!” Writer Émile Zola fled France today 114 years ago to escape imprisonment after being convicted for libel. He defended the innocence of a Jewish artillery captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus. The L’Assommoir  author directed his letter — published in newspaper L’Aurore — at France’s President Félix Faure and the government, citing anti-Semitism and judicial corruption in the unlawful jailing of Dreyfus for espionage. Zola quickly took off to London and later returned to see Dreyfus pardoned.

History has proven that honest, intellectual, and creative freethinkers can be deemed dangerous — demonized and ostracized by their own societies. Many have been banished, but some have left their native countries of their own accord. Oddly enough, the experience has been a catalyst for some of literature’s finest work. See what famous figures made our list of literary exiles below.

Poet-politician Dante was exiled from Florence for supporting the Holy Roman Emperor (White Guelphs) over the Papacy (Black Guelphs). The banishment lasted Dante’s entire life, but influenced his masterpiece The Divine Comedy , which clearly expresses a parallel to his real-life experiences of wandering through “hell” seeking protection. Also see: lots of eternal damnation directed at the big bad.

In some cases the deposed head of state is allowed to go into exile following a coup or other change of government, allowing a more peaceful transition to take place or to escape justice. [3]

In some cases a person voluntarily lives in exile to avoid legal issues, such as litigation or criminal prosecution . An example of this is Asil Nadir , who fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for 17 years rather than face prosecution in connection with the failed £1.7 bn company Polly Peck in the United Kingdom .

When a large group, or occasionally a whole people or nation is exiled, it can be said that this nation is in exile, or "diaspora". Nations that have been in exile for substantial periods include the Jews , who were deported by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II in 586 BC and again following the destruction of the second Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. Many Jewish prayers include a yearning to return to Jerusalem and the Jewish homeland.

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi was born under the sign of exile. The author’s striking name combines Persian and Dutch, evoking two very different worlds which seep into her work in unwieldy and whimsical ways. Reading the Iranian-American’s new novel Call Me Zebra is a journey through what the writer calls the “psychosis of exile”—a dark descent into the depths of an identity crisis Oloomi is all too familiar with.

The book recounts the tale of “Zebra” Hosseini, a 22-year-old “literary terrorist” who along with her father flees a war in Iran that claims her mother’s life. (“Iran was no longer a place to think,” Oloomi writes. “Not even the Caspian was safe. We had to flee. We had to go into exile. We departed: numb, astonished, bewildered.”)

Riddled with grief and bitter nostalgia, the Hosseinis start anew and settle in New York, seeking refuge only in books. When Zebra’s father passes away, she embarks on a “Grand Tour of Exile” by way of Barcelona to retrace the steps of her family’s dislocation, and to preserve the Hosseinis’ literary legacy, now threatened not only by oceans but by a heightened sense of mourning and loss. Zebra repeatedly reminds the reader that she carries this peculiar responsibility as she is the last of a long line of “autodidacts, anarchists, and atheists.”

With their powerful blend of political and aesthetic concerns, Edward W. Said ’s writings have transformed the field of literary studies. This long-awaited collection of literary and cultural essays, the first since Harvard University Press published The World, the Text, and the Critic in 1983, reconfirms what no one can doubt—that Said is the most impressive, consequential, and elegant critic of our time—and offers further evidence of how much the fully engaged critical mind can contribute to the reservoir of value, thought, and action essential to our lives and our culture.

Now Available: The digital Loeb Classical Library ( loebclassics.com ) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.

Find new facing-page translations of classic works from the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library , I Tatti Renaissance Library , Loeb Classical Library , and Murty Classical Library of India .

“J’Accuse!” Writer Émile Zola fled France today 114 years ago to escape imprisonment after being convicted for libel. He defended the innocence of a Jewish artillery captain in the French army, Alfred Dreyfus. The L’Assommoir  author directed his letter — published in newspaper L’Aurore — at France’s President Félix Faure and the government, citing anti-Semitism and judicial corruption in the unlawful jailing of Dreyfus for espionage. Zola quickly took off to London and later returned to see Dreyfus pardoned.

History has proven that honest, intellectual, and creative freethinkers can be deemed dangerous — demonized and ostracized by their own societies. Many have been banished, but some have left their native countries of their own accord. Oddly enough, the experience has been a catalyst for some of literature’s finest work. See what famous figures made our list of literary exiles below.

Poet-politician Dante was exiled from Florence for supporting the Holy Roman Emperor (White Guelphs) over the Papacy (Black Guelphs). The banishment lasted Dante’s entire life, but influenced his masterpiece The Divine Comedy , which clearly expresses a parallel to his real-life experiences of wandering through “hell” seeking protection. Also see: lots of eternal damnation directed at the big bad.


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