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Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story)


Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story)

  • ISBN 13:


  • ISBN 10:


  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 08/08/2023
  • Publisher: Hachette Digital

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National Bestseller

NPR Best of the Year

New York Times Best of the Year

Amazon Best of the Year

Booklist Editors’ Choice

BookPage Best of the Year

Publishers Weekly Best of the Year

Wall Street Journal Best of the Year

Today.com Best of the Year

NECBA Windows & Mirrors Selection



“A modern masterpiece.”—New York Times


“Supple, sparkling and original.”—Wall Street Journal




“This book could change the world.”—BookPage


“Like nothing else you've read or ever will read.”—Linda Sue Park


“It hooks you right from the opening line.”–NPR



★ “A modern epic.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “A rare treasure of a book.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

★ “A story that soars.”—The Bulletin (starred)

★ “At once beautiful and painful.”—School Library Journal  (starred)

★ “Raises the literary bar in children’s lit.” —Booklist  (starred)

★ “Poignant and powerful.” —Foreword Reviews (starred)

★ “One of the most extraordinary books of the year.” —BookPage (starred)



A sprawling, evocative, and groundbreaking autobiographical novel told in the unforgettable and hilarious voice of a young Iranian refugee. It is a powerfully layered novel that poses the questions: Who owns the truth? Who speaks it? Who believes it?


“A patchwork story is the shame of the refugee,” Nayeri writes early in the novel. In an Oklahoman middle school, Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel) stands in front of a skeptical audience of classmates, telling the tales of his family’s history, stretching back years, decades, and centuries. At the core is Daniel’s story of how they became refugees—starting with his mother’s vocal embrace of Christianity in a country that made such a thing a capital offense, and continuing through their midnight flight from the secret police, bribing their way onto a plane-to-anywhere. Anywhere becomes the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy, and then finally asylum in the U.S.


Implementing a distinct literary style and challenging western narrative structures, Nayeri deftly weaves through stories of the long and beautiful history of his family in Iran, adding a richness of ancient tales and Persian folklore. Like Scheherazade of One Thousand and One Nights, Daniel spins a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth.


A tale of heartbreak and resilience and urges readers to speak their truth and be heard.

- Daniel is a major force and one of the youngest publishers in the industry.
- He’s an #OwnVoices author, public speaker, and storyteller.
- A pulled-from-the headlines immigrant story.
- Thematically relevant as immigration stories take center stage in politics, news, and media in 2020.
- Daniel challenges how we tell stories by using traditional Persian folk tales
- A fantastic literary whirlwind  that questions western narrative structures.

Author Biography

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