NOTES ON A FOREIGN COUNTRY is a moving reflection on America's place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation?a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of grave national and global turmoil.
'Deeply honest and brave . . . A sincere and intelligent act of self-questioning . . . Hansen is doing something both rare and necessary' - Hisham Matar, New York Times
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq, Suzy Hansen was enjoying success as a journalist for a New York newspaper. Increasingly, though, the disconnect between the chaos of world events and the response at home took on pressing urgency for her. Seeking to understand the Muslim world that had been reduced to scaremongering headlines, she moved to Istanbul.
Hansen arrived in Istanbul with romantic ideas about a city perched between East and West, and a naive sense of the Islamic world beyond. Over the course of years of living in Turkey and traveling in Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iran, she learned a great deal about these countries and their cultures. But the most unsettling surprise would be what she learned about her own country - and herself, an American abroad in the era of American decline.
Blending memoir, journalism, and history, NOTES ON A FOREIGN COUNTRY is a moving reflection on America's place in the world. It is a powerful journey of self-discovery and revelation - a profound reckoning with what it means to be American in a moment of national and global turmoil.
Deeply honest and brave . . . A sincere and intelligent act of self-questioning . . . Hansen is doing something both rare and necessary - Hisham Matar, The New York Times Book Review (cover)
Ardent, often lovely . . . If Noam Chomsky could write like this, Hansen's work would already be done. - Karl Vick, TIME
Hansen turns a coming-of-age travelogue into a geopolitical memoir of sorts, without sacrificing personal urgency in the process . . . Her long stay in Istanbul (she's still there) gives her an outsider's vantage on myopic American arrogance that is bracing. And her fascinating insider's view of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rise upends Western simplicities . . . The experience is contagious. - Ann Hulbert, The Atlantic
Compelling . . . [Hansen] vividly captures the disorientation we experience when our preconceived notions collide with uncomfortable discoveries . . . Rare and refreshing . . . Hansen's principal injunction to Americans to understand how others view them and their country's policies is timely and urgent. - Ali Wyne, The Washington Post
Suzy Hansen is contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and has written for many other publications. In 2007, she was awarded a fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to do research in Turkey. She currently lives in Istanbul. Notes on a Foreign Country is her first book.