Book Review: No Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi

No Land's ManNo Land’s Man by Aasif Mandvi
Publisher: Audible Studios
Release Date: November 4, 2014
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aasif Mandvi is probably most familiar to you as the Senior Muslim Correspondent on The Daily Show. At least that’s how he was most familiar to me. In listening to this book, I discovered that he had a very successful career before The Daily Show, including winning an Obie for his one-man show Sakina’s Restaurant.

No Land’s Man is not a humor book per se. It’s a collection of stories from Aasif’s life. Some are definitely funny but some are heartbreaking as well, like the one from his time at an English boarding school. He is a very talented writer and is capable of inspiring a wide gamut of emotions from the listener. The boarding school story almost made me cry. I think the story about starring in a film directed by Ismail Merchant frustrated me as much as it did Aasif. And the story about crashing Brooke Shields’ party made me laugh out loud.

The title No Land’s Man comes from the fact that Aasif was born in India, moved to England as a baby and then immigrated with his family to Florida as a teenager. The overriding theme is about Aasif’s search for identity given his wide experience with different cultures. A side note – I was unaware of how much racism brown people experience in England. That part of Aasif’s childhood was definitely hard.
Now you are wondering, what about The Daily Show? Does he mention that? Yes, he does. He talks about his path to becoming a regular on The Daily Show and the effect it had on both him and the wider American Muslim community.

Aasif narrates his book himself, a wise choice. It’s the same tone he uses on The Daily Show. A little loud and staccato but it works. This is a great book to learn more about Aasif and about what a brown person must go through to become a successful actor in America. At around four and half hours it’s a quick listen and definitely worth your time.

(I received this audiobook courtesy of the publisher.)

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I’m not at all familiar with the author but still think the book sounds fascinating.