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No Land's Man

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,927 ratings  ·  284 reviews
"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
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Kindle Edition, 194 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Chronicle Books LLC (first published October 14th 2014)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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 ·  1,927 ratings  ·  284 reviews


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Amber
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"No Land's Man" is one of those books that can take you through the emotional gamut but still leave you laughing.

This is such a compelling story for anyone who has ever felt out of place. From his (frankly) disturbing days in a British boarding school to his delightful tenure on the "Daily Show" Mandvi just sort of opens up a vein and bleeds onto the page.

His commentary on race, class, and society is spot on. And there were sections where I literally laughed out loud.

I only meant to read a ch
...more
Tilia
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has seen Aasif Mandvi on the Daily Show as "Senior Foreign Looking Correspondent" already has high expectations of this, his first book. Happily, Mandvi does not disappoint. This memoir details his childhood peregrinations (and, to a lesser extent, those of his adult life): from the horrifying racism and cruelty of his years in a British boys' boarding school to the much more relaxed existence his family discovered in Florida where they moved because his father was obsessed with brunc ...more
Emily
Dec 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm.. I'm not quite sure what I thought about this book. It was witty, I got to know Aasif more through his stories. But the stories themselves, and the chronological ordering of the book was jarring to me. Perhaps because I'm such a Daily Show fan I was hoping for more juicy details about the show. However! That's exactly what this book wasn't, Jon Stewart wasn't mentioned until the last few pages. This book was more a "get to know Aasif", including his accomplishments, failures, beatings becau ...more
Lena
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Aasif Mandvi was best known to me as a correspondent on the Daily Show. He is also the author/star of a well reviewed one-man show about the challenges of being the son of roving Muslim immigrants who passed their family through the UK before striking out for America.

This book is well written, but it was quite different from what I was expecting. Mandvi's writing style here does not mirror the punchy, quick pace of his Daily Show work but instead consists of longer form, personal essays which a
...more
Sonya
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
There is a disclaimer at the beginning of this book that says some of the events Mandvi's writing about, while based in truth and on his own life, have been fictionalized. So the whole time I'm reading this, I'm wondering which parts are real and which are fabricated to make the story "better." The distinction matters. Either write a memoir that's telling the reader something relating to the author's authentic life (otherwise, why write at all?) or write fiction based on autobiography and call i ...more
Mike
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mandvi is a good storyteller and reasonably funny (the urine-drinking story being the only bit that might make you laugh out loud). He doesn't really set out to be comedian, though, and instead focuses on the alienation he's felt as a Muslim Indian in England, and and Indian Muslim English immigrant in the US. The anecdotes are very entertaining, but also serious without being overly sentimental. Things get a little serious toward the very end, but overall it is a light, enjoyable, and quick rea ...more
Lindsay Nixon
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a terrific (perfect) memoir to read immediately after White Fragility and Braving the Wilderness.

Such a lucky timing and perfect pairing—I would recommend this memoir for any actor trying to make it or anyone who feels “pigeon holed” in their career.

It’s also interesting to hear his parents view on American culture. Aasif is dorky, charming, and hilarious all at the same time. It is not a LOL memoir but you’ll smile with amusement. This book endeared him to me, made me want to seek out
...more
Mary
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aside Mandvi’s memoir details his immigrant experience in the both the UK and his family’s later move to Tampa, Florida as a teenager. I know Mandvi primarily through his work on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show; my salvation during the Bush 2 years. Mandvi, always charming and quick-witted, demonstrates a greater depth in his memoir and I’m glad I picked up this Audible edition. It flew by.
Jason Pettus
[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 subconti
...more
Amanda
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mandvi's laugh-out-loud funny introspection on experiencing life through Muslim, British, and American culture is full of heart and humility. I found more affinity in No Land's Man than I had originally anticipated, having grown up as an Asian-American myself, torn between both American and Chinese culture in an all-white community, much like Mandvi grappled with growing up Muslim in an all-boys British boarding school. Like Mandvi, though he could look the part of a Muslim, it only felt like a ...more
Linda

Unexpectedly lovely. I picked this up thinking I’d be getting a breezy funny-man’s take on life, chock full of laugh-out-loud anecdotes from the Daily Show set. What I got instead was a thoughtful, poignant, multi-dimensional personal memoir that tells Mandvi’s story of growing up as a South Asian in the UK, dreaming of being an actor, pursuing his craft across the Atlantic, finding his way, improbably, to the Daily Show, and creating a space for himself not just in TV, but movies and theatre as
...more
Kadijah Michelle
This book was a recommendation of NPR, and I was interested in reading it because of his appearances on the Daily Show. Yes, I drank the Kool-aid, and as a Muslim, I wasn't looking for perfection, but I was hoping for someone who at least respected the religion. While it was ok that this book was not an inspiring tale of a man that has defeated racism in America, or a book of advise for young "brown" actors, it could have at least been somewhat funny and less bitter. Except for a couple chapter ...more
Annie
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the book - it was a quick read that explores Mandvi's childhood and experiences growing up in Britain and the U.S. I've always enjoyed Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show, which is why I wanted to read this book. The book has Mandvi's dry humor throughout, even (especially?) when experiencing pivotal life moments as a perceived outsider. Mandvi gives insight into the limited opportunities for actors who are not caucasian to portray characters with any depth or substance.

I received this boo
...more
Gimena
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I simply loved this book. I have been a huge fan of Aasif since he was on the Daily Show. Although he is an Indian Muslim, and I am an Atheist Latina, I felt as if he was able to express my experience of living in America. It turns out that he has had the typical life of the child of immigrants. His book is part memoir, part theater, and part musings. I enjoyed the funny parts and was touched by the sad parts. I enjoyed this book more than any other comedian written books so far.
Chris Aylott
On the face of it, this is a slight book -- little essays that skip around in time and space, more like a notebook than a memoir. Each small portrait builds up to a greater whole, though, and I enjoyed getting to know Mandvi's mind and family.

(Especially his dad. You've got to admire a man who -- as Mandvi tells it -- moved to America for the concept of Brunch.)

John
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir, dnf
I picked this up as one of Audible.com's "Daily Deals", figuring that $3 for the audiobook was worth the gamble. I'd never heard of Aasif Mandvi before, though apparently he is some kind of celebrity. (OK, I just looked him up on Wikipedia and discovered he's been in several movies I've seen. Some good ones, too.) The first few chapters deal with his childhood and subsequent teenage years at a British boarding school. The anecdotes he relates would make for charming conversation fodder, but I'd ...more
Alan Teder
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
...more
Emily
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, audible, 2018
Each chapter is a story about a different time in Aasif's life, and each one has a purpose and a message to share. The stories were not consistently good (none of them were bad, but the better a writer is, it seems, the tougher I am on them), but the good ones blew me away --- and even the (relatively) weaker ones taught me something important, showed Mandvi(walla)'s strength of writing and storytelling, and improved my own storytelling process.

I knew and loved Aasif from The Daily Show. Learni
...more
Nupur
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
I enjoyed watching Aasif Mandvi on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This is a series of memoir-stories, not told in chronological order. I enjoyed some of them.
B.A. Wilson
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
It's an interesting perspective. I appreciate the honesty.
Elyse
3.5 stars.

I wanted this book to be longer! I enjoyed it and expected more so I was a little disappointed that it stopped very abruptly. I've seen Aasif interviewed on talk shows but haven't really seen much of anything else with him in it. He might've been on @midnight with Chris Hardwick on Comedy Central a few times. I enjoy listening to memoirs by comedians.
Melinda
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Humorous Memoir genre is my favorite when it comes to audio books and I have almost universal good luck with them. So, I went into No Land's Man expecting to really enjoy it. After all, it promised to be funny and I've always enjoyed Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show (for the record, Mandvi was my vote to replace Jon Stewart).

What I didn't expect is how profound this book could be. Yes, there are some purely fun moments and it dips now and then into potty humor (which I am not against!), but th
...more
Rachel
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio, 2014
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
...more
Ray Campbell
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
I've read several mid-career bios this past year: Tina Fey,Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman and Mindy Kaling's. This is second only to Mindy's. Aasif tells a touching, funny, introspective tale of an Indian/Muslim who is raised in s private school in Britain before moving to Florida and dealing with America and it's judgmental, racist culture. He isn't bitter or anti-American in anyway here, but I'm sorry as an American that our culture and society has a long way to go on the accepting of differences ...more
Hannah Darr
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Remember this," my father continued. "If Jon Stewart asks you any questions or your opinion about Islam, don't you say a word, just have him call your mother, she knows everything."
"Yes, beta," agreed my mom. "Just tell him to call me, because you don't want to say the wrong thing on television and then get your entire family in trouble."
"Don't humiliate your entire family!" continued my dad. "Otherwise we will be a laughingstock from here to Mumbai. By the way, congratulations! This is very ex
...more
Chris
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, audio, humor
I will preface this by saying I am unfamiliar with Aasif Mandvi and for the most part, the Daily Show (I have seen rarely seen bits of it on YouTube, never a full show).
While Aasif is a fantastic storyteller, and he narrated the hell out of his book (I think this would be the only way to consume this book, don't bother with print) I don't think I would like him personally. He seemed pretty hypocritical when in one story he completely reinforces American stereotypes to be rude, overconsuming, fa
...more
Sheila DeChantal
This audio was a lot of fun to listen to. I always enjoy actors and tv personalities that narrate their own audio books. It only seems right that they should be telling their story. Aasif narrates with a high energy and fast talking manner that you think he is hopped up on coffee (or perhaps that brownie he mentions along the way…).

Honesty, I did not know much about Aasif going into the read, but after listening to this book I have a whole new appreciation for the talent of this man who never st
...more
Emily B.
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Even though this book is short, it made me laugh several times! Mandvi's whole family is entertaining, and the best scene in the book is a gross-yet-hilarious prank that his parents pull on his sister. I'm not going to spoil it, but it deserved to become a family legend.

There are also a lot of serious parts. The one that touched me the most was when Mandvi said, "My story would never be lived on a wholly familiar plot of land". He grew up on three different continents, and he did not have many f
...more
Nuha
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a Muslim South Asian who grew up in three different countries, this book resonated with me. So much of the loss and confusion with identity the book presents, albeit through humor, represented my own experiences growing up. I wish that the book talked more about his experiences on the Daily Show and about being a spokesperson for Muslim Americans more, but overall a really nice read.
Rincey
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poc-author, 2015
Listened to this as an audiobook. Some of the chapters really hit the mark, a couple chapters not so much. But overall, a really funny, insightful book that talks about race, entertainment, and growing up as an immigrant.
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