Breaking the Ocean

A Memoir

In a time of rising nationalism and xenophobia people polarize along racial and identity lines. Where can we turn for hopeful yet realistic narratives of the healing that is possible in relationship and the chances we’re all given to create our own happily-ever-after?

Annahid Dashtgard was born in 1970s Iran, but was forced to flee her homeland after the 1979 Revolution. After a turmultuous childhood in small town Alberta, Canada she created a new identity for herself as a driven young woman who found strength through political activism, eventually becoming a leader in the anti–corporate globalization movement of the late 1990s. But her unhealed trauma was re-activated following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Suffering burnout, Annahid checked out of her life and took the first steps towards personal healing, a journey that continues to this day.

In Breaking the Ocean, Annahid addresses the long-term impacts of immigration, discrimation and racial trauma with great honesty and vulnerability. It’s a wake-up call to acknowledge our differences, offering new possibilities for understanding through the revolutionary power of resilience. Using her life story to unravel universal questions of what it means to belong, Breaking the Ocean points us toward a future where belonging is birth right for all.

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What are people saying about Breaking the Ocean?

This one may change you

Ms. Magazine Logo
Ms. Magazine

…a memoir and a guide to facing discrimination, racism and trauma in society.

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CBC Books

…deeply felt and striking in its clarity and relevance… a luminous inventory dappled with joy and pain.

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Quill & Quire

Dashtgard answers the universal questions of what it means to belong, what it takes to become whole, and ultimately what is required to create change in ourselves and in society.

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49th Shelf

…a beautifully written, sensitive memoir fraught with painful memories but also touched by hope, an illuminating meditation on finding your own voice and identity in a new land.

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Booklist

In this powerful book, Dashtgard is resilient. In fighting for change and belonging she recognizes what was given up in return.

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Hamilton Review of Books