This Country: Searching for Home in (Very) Rural America


Product Details

$25.95  $24.13
Princeton Architectural Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.0 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Navied Mahdavian has been a contributing cartoonist at the New Yorker since 2018. His work has also been published in Reader's Digest, Wired, and Alta Online and the books The Rejection Collection and Send Help! Before becoming a cartoonist, he taught the fifth grade, where he learned most of his jokes. Mahdavian was born in Miami and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.


"This is a charming, hilarious, and at times frightening memoir about the years Navied and Emelie (and their dog, Stanley) Mahdavian spent building a home in remote Idaho after being pushed out of the San Francisco Bay area...This will appeal to readers of memoir, social commentary, and, in a minor spoiler, graphic medicine."


"A beautifully drawn memoir full of humor, intelligence, and sensitivity."

-- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A charming, meditative graphic memoir... This exceptional debut is a sublime self-examination."

-- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"An extraordinary achievement, suffused with love and humor. One feels not just the rooms but the weather, time of day, the rhythms of nature."

--Jason Adam Katzenstein, cartoonist and author of Everything Is an Emergency

"Why did urban, vegetarian, gun-wary Navied, of Iranian descent, have the big, bright idea to move with his wife to the frigid mountains of Idaho, months before Trump's election? Riveting, searching, complex and, oh, hilarious, this memoir ultimately is a quest for strength, wildness, and love, for a deeper vision of all things Earth. Surely this is my favorite graphic memoir I've read in years."

--Deb Olin Unferth, author of Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War

"Enamored of nature and dazzled by fantasies of the rugged west, a young mixed--race couple build a tiny home in the wilds of Idaho--and must confront an America at odds with itself. In This Country, Mahdavian explores today's cultural divide with a keen eye and a graceful touch. The resulting portrait is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, elegant and complex, brutal and tender. I dare you not to fall in love."

--Alia Volz, author of Homebaked: Home Baked: Marijuana, My Mother and the Stoning of San Francisco

"This Country is a hilarious and sometimes harrowing graphic memoir about the Mahdavians' quest to live self-sufficiently in rural Idaho. Learning how to cut down a tree to heat your own house and grow your own vegetables is only one part of it....Wonderful drawings and beautiful writing make this book a great read."

--Roz Chast, author and cartoonist of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

"I knew Navied Mahdavian was one of the funniest cartoonists of his generation; This Country proves he is also one of its most subtle and sophisticated graphic storytellers. In Navied's hands, comics feel like poetry. Perfect ink drawings bring land, beast, and human, with all their delicacy and yearning, viscerally to life. This Country, a quintessential story of seeking a home in America and (maybe) finding it, and made me want to grant my own surroundings the grace, humor, and dignity of Navied's observant study."

--Amy Kurzweil, cartoonist and author of Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir

"A charming, wise, and haunting book. [I've known] that town quite well for the last thirty years, [and Mahdavian has] captured it in all its complexity."

--Christopher Guest actor, screenwriter, and director (Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, This is Spinal Tap)

"This Country is touching, personal, and frequently hilarious. Mahdavian weaves heavy themes of home and belonging with disarming moments of silliness and levity. It's a story specific to his experience, yet relatable to anyone who has ever searched for a place to be."

--Reza Farazmand, writer and illustrator of Poorly Drawn Lines

"Ostensibly, This Country is about a couple finding their place in the world and learning the true history of the land they're building a life on--a land that has seen both turmoil and awe--but amid the harsh truth, blatant racism, and struggles to fit in, there is so much beauty and humor and compassion. Mahdavian's drawings are deceptively simple, perfectly capturing the wonder of little everyday occurrences. Of time moving, a small family growing and changing, of an entire country still reckoning with past and present mistakes. This is a very important book for pretty much everyone."

--Julia Wertz, cartoonist and author of Impossible People and Tenements, Towers Trash