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No Land's Man (2014)

by Aasif Mandvi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1346206,386 (3.52)1
Essays. Family & Relationships. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:

The actor shares a heartfelt "collection of humorous essays that explore his myriad identities: Indian, Muslim, British, and American" (The Boston Globe).
"My father moved our family to the United States because of a word. It was a word whose meaning fascinated him. It was a singularly American word, a fat word, a word that could only be spoken with decadent pride. That word was . . . Brunch! "The beauty of America," he would say, "is they have so much food, that between breakfast and lunch they have to stop and eat again.""‚??from "International House of Patel"
If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land's Man Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
This is a book filled with passion, discovery, and humor. Mandvi hilariously and poignantly describes a journey that will resonate with anyone who has had to navigate his or her way in the murky space between lands. Or anyone who really loves brunch.
"Best Comedy Books of 2014" selection by The Washington Post
Praise for No Land's Man
"I was enthralled . . . . Mandvi writes beautifully and comedically about his life, with wonderful dialogue and revealing detail, reminiscent of David Sedaris." ‚??Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!
"It always bothered me that Aasif was more than merely funny‚??he's also a great actor. Now I've learned he's an amazing storyteller as well, and I am furious . . . but also grateful. Aasif's movement between cultures and genres is what makes him and his story singularly funny, poignant, and essential." ‚??John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require
"Aasif is my favorite Indo-Muslim-British-American Daily Show correspondent ever. I loved No Land's Man!" ‚??Jim Gaffigan, author of Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story
"A lighthearted but heartfelt portrait of Mandvi's childhood and his struggles to come to terms with his rather complicated life." ‚??The Boston
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A series of autobiographical essays about Aasif Mandvi's life- his family, growing up in both Great Britain and Tampa, Florida, pursuing acting, etc.

I liked it ok, 3.5 rounded up to 4.

This was published in 2014, so it was a little jarring to see a brief cameo by Harvey Weinstein in the essay on Aasif's experience with Ismail Merchant for the making of The Mystic Masseur. No mention of the work on the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie, which is also just as well since that movie's probably better left forgotten... ( )
  Daumari | Dec 28, 2023 |
More Interesting in the Aspiring Actor portions in the last half
Review of the Audible Audio edition (2014) of the original Chronicle Books hardcover (2014)

[3.5]
I first heard of Aasif Mandvi from the recent Audible Original recording of the 2018 revival of his one-man play Sakina's Restaurant (1998). I've also enjoy him as the sceptical myth-buster in the exorcism team of the current TV show Evil (2019-). Audible listed his memoir No Land's Man (2014) as one of its Black Friday Week sales offers and I grabbed it up.

The front half is mostly your stereotypical fish out of water tales, boys at boarding schools, youthful lust stories, etc. The last half was more interesting with Mandvi's stories of his struggling actor days, his breakthrough with the original run of Sakina's Restaurant, being recruited for the lead in Ismail Merchant's film The Mystical Masseur(2001) and his hiring and early years on The Daily Show (which I don't see here in Canada).

Mandvi's own narration was excellent, although a bit over the top in the youthful exploits sections, which he admits in the afterword were partially fictionalized for comedic effect. ( )
  alanteder | Dec 3, 2019 |
Looking at a life of someone growing up and being bullied in both England and the States as a child, finally making his way as an actor and comedian. ( )
  quiBee | Jan 21, 2016 |
[Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (cclapcenter.com). I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.]

There's not a lot to say about Aasif Mandvi's short and sharp memoir No Land's Man, but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading; in fact, I found this one of the more delightful short books I've read in recent months, a disarming and always humorous look at one Indian immigrant's journey from the subcontinent to England and eventually America, informed and influenced by Gen-X pop-culture the entire way. For those who only know Mandvi as one of the smartest contributors to Comedy Central's The Daily Show, they might be surprised to know that he has an equal amount of experience in the arts delving into drama and intellectualism, with his one-man play Sakina's Restaurant eventually turned into the successful indie film Today's Special, and with Mandvi taking various parts over the years in plays by Tom Stoppard, Tony Kushner and more; and both of these sides of this talented writer and performer are on display in this small but engaging new book, a self-deprecating yet earnest look at Mandvi's youth as a picked-on Indian nerd in a working-class British town, before his family's random move to Tampa, Florida and his '80s dreams of American success as defined through bad television. (One of the funniest chapters here is how Mandvi aspired as a youth to become the next Fonzie, insisting that his parents call him "The Monz" until his mother finally revolted, passionately lecturing him on the superior acting skills of Omar Sharif over Henry Winkler.) A fast and entertaining read that should take most people no more than a day or two to finish, this comes strongly recommended to both comedy fans and those interested in first-hand looks at the American immigration experience, as well as anyone else looking for a sweet, funny story about nerdom and outsider culture.

Out of 10: 9.3 ( )
  jasonpettus | Jan 26, 2015 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Dec 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aasif Mandviprimary authorall editionscalculated
Egan, NeilCover designer, book designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kulick, GreggCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Peter AshCover photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tierney, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Essays. Family & Relationships. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:

The actor shares a heartfelt "collection of humorous essays that explore his myriad identities: Indian, Muslim, British, and American" (The Boston Globe).
"My father moved our family to the United States because of a word. It was a word whose meaning fascinated him. It was a singularly American word, a fat word, a word that could only be spoken with decadent pride. That word was . . . Brunch! "The beauty of America," he would say, "is they have so much food, that between breakfast and lunch they have to stop and eat again.""‚??from "International House of Patel"
If you're an Indo-Muslim-British-American actor who has spent more time in bars than mosques over the past few decades, turns out it's a little tough to explain who you are or where you are from. In No Land's Man Aasif Mandvi explores this and other conundrums through stories about his family, ambition, desire, and culture that range from dealing with his brunch-obsessed father, to being a high-school-age Michael Jackson impersonator, to joining a Bible study group in order to seduce a nice Christian girl, to improbably becoming America's favorite Muslim/Indian/Arab/Brown/Doctor correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
This is a book filled with passion, discovery, and humor. Mandvi hilariously and poignantly describes a journey that will resonate with anyone who has had to navigate his or her way in the murky space between lands. Or anyone who really loves brunch.
"Best Comedy Books of 2014" selection by The Washington Post
Praise for No Land's Man
"I was enthralled . . . . Mandvi writes beautifully and comedically about his life, with wonderful dialogue and revealing detail, reminiscent of David Sedaris." ‚??Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir!
"It always bothered me that Aasif was more than merely funny‚??he's also a great actor. Now I've learned he's an amazing storyteller as well, and I am furious . . . but also grateful. Aasif's movement between cultures and genres is what makes him and his story singularly funny, poignant, and essential." ‚??John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require
"Aasif is my favorite Indo-Muslim-British-American Daily Show correspondent ever. I loved No Land's Man!" ‚??Jim Gaffigan, author of Dad Is Fat and Food: A Love Story
"A lighthearted but heartfelt portrait of Mandvi's childhood and his struggles to come to terms with his rather complicated life." ‚??The Boston

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