REVIEW: No Land to Light On by Yara Zgheib

Posted March 16th, 2024 by in Blog, Review, Women's Fic - Chick-lit / 6 comments


No Land to Light On by Yara Zgheib: When the President of the United States issued a travel ban from specific Arabic countries in the Middle East entering the US in 2017, Hadi, having only achieved refugee status from Syria 2 years prior is detained at the airport.

Having returned to Jordan briefly to bury his father, Hadi is caught in the political crossfire and forced under duress to cancel his own visa. His wife Sama, 5 months pregnant, waits and waits and waits at the airport but Hadi never appears. Knowing in her heart that something is terribly wrong, Sama’s fear prompts the premature birth of her son and as she stands vigil in the ICU, we journey on a love story that crosses oceans, cultures and timelines as both Hadi and Sama struggle to hold onto their hearts and find a place they can call home.

From the onset, Hadi and Sama’s love story is one of magic, punctuated with factual information regarding homing birds and birds who travel magnificent distances to mate and nest. Having won her visa status via scholarship to Harvard, Sama’s PhD focuses on bird migration, and as a sub-narrative, this offers metaphorical pause from the deeply political themes that are woven throughout.

Provocative, poetic and powerful, love and family are the clear cornerstones that tether Sama and Hadi’s story, and whilst fictitious, there is a strong sense that the executive order in its actuality literally ripped families apart with no warning and no apology. For the most part though, Sama’s longing for freedom in all its glory and her ability to find beauty in the grotesque is the true winner.

Invariably, this is a beautifully challenging novel that reminds all who are lucky enough to be free to cherish our hearts and our homes, and to beat our wings fiercely in gratitude for all that we have.

Book Info:

Publication: 4th January 2022 | Atria Books |

When Sama is five months pregnant, Hadi’s father dies suddenly in Jordan, the night before his visa appointment at the embassy. Hadi flies back for the funeral, promising his wife that he’ll only be gone for a few days. On the day his flight is due to arrive in Boston, Sama is waiting for him at the airport, eager to bring him back home. But as the minutes and then hours pass, she continues to wait, unaware that Hadi has been stopped at the border and detained for questioning, trapped in a timeless, nightmarish limbo.

Worlds apart, suspended between hope and disillusion as hours become days become weeks, Sama and Hadi yearn for a way back to each other, and to the life they’d dreamed up together. But does that life exist anymore, or was it only an illusion?

Achingly intimate yet poignantly universal, No Land to Light On is the story of a family caught up in forces beyond their control, fighting for the freedom and home they found in one another.



6 Responses to “REVIEW: No Land to Light On by Yara Zgheib”

  1. Patricia Barraclough

    Sadly, politicians forget, or don’t care, how their actions impact the lives of so many people. They separate good families and unnecessarily damage lives.