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A glass wall goes diagonally through the book. A boy on one side in a desert. An old man on the other side in a green field.

The Glass Wall

By Goran Baba Ali

Release date: 10 April 2024

Binding           Paperback

Format            198 x 129 mm

Pages              352

Price                £ 12.99

ISBN                9781739982416

BIC 2.0             Modern & Contemporary

                          Fiction (FA)

Release date: November 2021

Binding           Hardback

Format            216 x 135 mm

Pages              352

Price                £ 14.99

ISBN                9781739982409

BIC 2.0             Modern & Contemporary

                          Fiction (FA)

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The story of a teenage refugee who must re-live the pain of his past to enter a land waiting behind a glass wall. 

Will his story be convincing enough to guarantee his safety?

A story of struggle and persecution, yet abundant in hope, The Glass Wall is a clear-eyed, emotionally honest account of displaced people – illustrating the true hardships experienced by refugees . 


An unforgettable novel, made cruelly relevant by what has been taking place in Europe.
Neal Ascherson, Writer & Journalist

A moving, intelligent story interrogating what it means to be a refugee.
Julia Bell, Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing

Poetic and beautifully rendered, it probes the boundaries between those who have and those who seek.
Isabel Hilton OBE, Journalist & Broadcaster

A Mesopotamian epic of migration. It tells of the human experience of dangerous crossings in search of hospitality.
Fazil Moradi, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg

Neal Ascherson, book reviewer for The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, and London Review of Books; author of The Death of Fronsac, Black SeaStone Voices, said about The Glass Wall:

This is an unforgettable novel. Its theme is the dark adventure of the refugee, driven to flee from her or his native country, living an isolated half-life of exile between memories of a lost homeland and the calm indifference of the ‘safe’ world around.
As a Kurdish writer, with a full experience of war, flight, uprooting, the kindness of strangers and the hostility of foreign border guards and bureaucracies, Goran Baba Ali has seen and felt the worst of the exile condition. But he has turned it into an almost Kafkan allegory which runs all through the book, the sustained image of a glass wall. Immensely high, transparent and yet impenetrably thick and strong, it divides a scorching desert landscape from a ‘normal’ prosperous world where grass is green, families picnic beside pretty lakes and shops are stocked with food and cool drinks. But the transparency is only one-way. The thirsty refugees who stumble out of the desert and collapse at the foot of the wall can see the happy world beyond. But they can’t reach it, and the inhabitants of that world can’t see them or hear their cries for help.
This is the story of Arman, the young refugee who finds himself at the foot of the wall at first without food, water or shelter from the burning desert sun. His efforts to find a way through the wall (there are certain heavily-guarded crossing points) and to build some sort of refuge for himself develop into a narrative which is never monotonous, a fascinating struggle for survival, a tortuous negotiation with the elderly guard at a crossing point, a slow discovery that his only secure possession is his own past reconstructed in dreams and memories. And, as the novel continues, great dramas arise which begin to shake and transform that complacent world beyond the glass.
The powerful central image carries the book through to its poignant conclusion. But the metaphor of that giant one-way wall of glass, segregating the scattered of this world from the settled, will stay with the reader as long as fear and flight torment this 21st century.


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