All We Leave Behind | Penguin Random House Canada

All We Leave Behind

A Reporter's Journey into the Lives of Others

Publisher: Random House Canada
Winner of the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
Finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
Finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction
Finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

 
An incredible work of non-fiction that reads like a thriller, All We Leave Behind is the true story of a family fleeing the death sentence of a ruthless warlord, written by the journalist who broke all her own rules to get them to safety.

In 2002, Carol Off and a CBC TV crew encountered an Afghan man with a story to tell. Asad Aryubwal became a key figure in their documentary on the terrible power of thuggish warlords who were working arm in arm with Americans and NATO troops. When Asad publicly exposed the deeds of one of the warlords, General Abdul Rashid Dostum, it set off a chain of events from which there was no turning back. Asad, his wife, Mobina, and their five children had to flee their home.    
 
The family faced an uncertain future. But their dilemma compelled a journalist to cross the lines of disinterested reporting and become deeply involved. Together, they navigated the Byzantine international bureaucracy and the decidedly unwelcoming policies of Stephen Harper's government until the family finally found a new home.     

Carol Off's powerful account traces not only one family's journey and fraught attempts to immigrate to a safe place, it also illustrates what happens when a journalist becomes irrevocably caught up in the lives of the people in her story and finds herself unable to leave them behind.

PRAISE FOR

Winner of the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
Finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
Finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction
Finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

“With clear, page-turning prose, Off embarks on a rigorous and honest examination of her role in the family’s fate, first as a journalist, but ultimately as a friend, when she crosses the line of dispassionate reportage and becomes deeply involved in their bid to reach Canada. The book is an insightful contemplation of journalism’s mission, and its impact on the lives of the people who dare to speak out in the name of truth.” —2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction jury (Susan Harada, Arno Kopecky and Siobhan Roberts)

“[C]aptivating prose and painful honesty. . . . Off has pulled off the veil and ignited a conversation about the moral obligation of journalists in the field.” —Winnipeg Free Press
 
“[Off] deftly weaves together a taut narrative that shuttles from a history of politics in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan to episodes as a foreign correspondent covering Canadian forces in Kandahar. . . . Throughout the book, Off struggles with the moral imperative behind her profession. . . . The journalist’s best day may be someone else’s worst. . . . All We Leave Behind is a fascinating tale about how one reporter’s request turns an extraordinary family’s life upside down, combined with a cogent examination of her own attempt to hold on to her humanity.” —Quill & Quire
 
“Off’s book reads like a thriller.” —Windsor Star
 
“[R]iveting. . . . [All We Leave Behind] is at once history lesson, political-science course, biography and scathing indictment of both Canada’s and the United Nations’s refugee programs.” —The Collection