by Joss Sheldon


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Step into a world which is both magically fictitious and shockingly real. Walk side-by-side with a refugee, native, occupier and economic migrant. And watch on as the world around you transforms from a halcyon past into a dystopian future.

Inspired by the occupations of Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet, and by the corporate occupation of the west, ‘Occupied’ is a haunting glance into a society which is a little too familiar for comfort.

Powerful, dark, dystopian and magical; Occupied truly is a unique piece of literary fiction…

  • "Darker than George Orwell's 1984" - AXS
  • "Candid and disquieting" - Free Tibet
  • "Genre-busting" - Pak Asia Times
  • "Brilliant" - Middle East Monitor
  • "A must read" - Buzzfeed


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781516821808
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 10/20/2015
Pages: 356
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Joss Sheldon is a scruffy nomad, an unshaven layabout, and a good for nothing hobo. Born in 1982, he was bought up in one of the anonymous suburbs which wrap themselves around London's beating heart. And then he escaped.

With a degree from the London School of Economics to his name, Sheldon had spells selling falafel at music festivals, being a ski-bum, and failing to turn the English Midlands into a haven of rugby league.

Before, in 2013, he went to McLeod Ganj in India; a village which plays home to thousands of angry monkeys, hundreds of Tibetan refugees, and the Dalai Lama himself. It was there, wrapped up in a blanket which featured some animated teddies, that Sheldon wrote his first two novels; 'Involution & Evolution' and 'Occupied'.

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Occupied 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
NellieLaurie More than 1 year ago
Joss Sheldon is certainly a brilliant author. The book is expertly written and edited. The subject of the tale is difficult and heart-wrenching, so that makes it a little harder for me to read, as I prefer more lighthearted reading material. However, it is such a powerful story that it's worth it. Though the people and places are fictional, the situations could happen anywhere around the globe. Your life could be turned upside down with little to no warning just like with this book's characters. It happens every day to people around the world, and we should never let ourselves think that it couldn't happen to us. Reading stories like this can help broaden our minds to be able to cope better with whatever life throws our ways.
niyatimav More than 1 year ago
Wow! This is such an excellent book. When I read it, I felt so crippled, yet drawn into the narrative that I could not resist reading page after page. There were so many similarities between what was happening in the book and what was happening in the real world. I felt, I'd not been too attuned to the problems that they faced before. The thing that really hurt me while reading was the way how soldiers were indoctrinated with hatred against other people. I mean everyone is a human and just because of their origins, to think they are scum and call them names is a sign of the decay in our society. And indeed, that is how terrorists are born. Indoctrinated with hatred against people of a particular country without any logic or reason. It hurt to read about the slow Corporatization of the world. And I realized how true it was. We supported these corporate endeavors and we forgot our roots and a simplistic style of living. It absolutely freaked me out that the future dystopian model is that women will be impregnated just because it is profitable. Actually, that thing rings true. Just to illustrate, the American Pharmaceutical industry works like that. On a sole profit motive at the cost of making life saving drugs available for cheap for the people. Having a profit motive or the motive to expand and earn was ruining our lives and it made me realize how we had been taught that settling down in your life was small minded. And that you were only a success if you'd captured the world with your ideas. NO! That is wrong. You live a wholesome and meaningful life. That matters so much more than extracting every drop of money available. But sadly, the way we have all been raised, is that the profit motive is superlative. And money is superlative. I suppose beyond a point, we shall all be robots, doing meaningless work because someone is pulling the strings behind a curtain. This book saddened me. Mostly, it made me aware of my own greed. The greed of succeeding. The greed which the world ended up glorifying. As a result of which my life was never content. And it could never be unless I pushed myself that much harder. And earned that much more. Which is such a big tragedy. It also reminded me that it was seriously time we gave big corporates the thumbs down. Their greed has corrupted everyone and depleted the environment. We don't deserve a death at their hands. And in this matter, I feel we should not be content for less. I really hope the world changes. For the world's sake. Because we have to change before we are swallowed and our existence is threatened.
Teaera Churchwell More than 1 year ago
I originally sat down intending to read a few pages before moving on to do other work, two and a half hours later I finished the last page and stared blankly at a wall as I tried to process what I had just finished reading. The structure of this novel is incredibly unique broken into three main sections further subdivided into four chapters each one featuring a different main character as they grow through life's hardships. One of the more unique but most important aspects of this book is that each of the main characters comes from a very different background, from occupied to occupier, but the author takes great pains to have them share the same experiences. There is the pitfall possibility for a reader to find this exaggerated, if you are thinking of reading this book I encourage you to keep a very open mind during these moments as truly they are one of the more genius elements of this work. Another aspect of this novel is that it seems to be stressing a few main points. At the beginning it is centered almost entirely around the occupations of Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet. This seems to be the main revolving story line through the first two sections. In the third section the story line seems to take a drastic turn into stressing the dangers of corporate occupation, the pitfalls of money, government run banks, and robotics. On one hand this has raised an incredibly interesting internal debate within myself between the connection one can make between traditional warfare and a the more modern worry of a to large government and our reliance on money and products. One the other hand I felt like this sudden change left me floundering for almost an entire chapter before I caught up. However, the author does take great pains to tie both story lines together at the end. Overall, I feel like this novel could become an educational classic. It was a very unique combination of fantasy and abject reality. With writing that was raw, in your face, practically radiating the emotions the author most have felt while writing it. I will be thinking of this novel for some time.
kaylasandi More than 1 year ago
Every aspect of this story enthralled me. It all started with the expressive cover illustration. It resembles something that you would find in a zine tackling the difficult theme of oppression, which was something that immediately piqued my interest. I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but this one revealed a great deal about the story. It’s left open for interpretation, so I won’t spoil that experience through this review. The description is brief, but enough to make you want to delve into the creative dystopian society brilliantly depicted by Joss Sheldon. The book is comprised of four main characters; Tasmin, Ellie, Arun, and Charlie. We get an insight on their lives organized from childhood, through adolescence, and to adulthood. This gives us a look into a child’s view on a corrupt society, opinions thriving from adolescent naivety, and the understanding brought about with the approach of adulthood. With vibrant personalities, chapters dedicated to each individual character, you’ll feel as though you’re alongside them through all of their trials and tribulations. This story is terrifyingly thought-provoking, frighteningly gritty. It brings true themes of individuals living under occupation; whether it’s by society, or themselves. It’s descriptive enough to connect the included themes to the real world today, and realistic enough to prompt questions as to whether some events truly occurred in the depths of our broad world history. It’s a compelling read, one that easily grips your interest and tugs an abundance of emotions from you. This is a story that can’t be passed up, ‘Occupation’ is a book that is well worth the read.
LaylaKhalid82 More than 1 year ago
A book that Occupies You This book examines a Dystopian society thoroughly; it is this hope that makes the novel, so riveting and thought-provoking, and so perfect for triggering discussions. The ending is deliberately ambiguous, with allegorical overtones, giving it a tragic note, which I didn't expect at all. This is basically that kind of book that unceremoniously dumps you in the middle of a miserable, noisy world and demands that you sink or swim. It reminds me of that vague desire of a unified self that no longer struggles against itself or its own nature. Tasmin, Ellie, Arun, Charlie they all were portraits of Hope, in different colors, assuming that they would one day be free; free from being occupied.Reading it, gives you a bold insight of what is happening in Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet and it literally tears your soul apart imagining it all imposed on them.Occasionally, you will read a book that offers you new ideas about what a book can actually do, how point of view and voice can be used differently but powerfully, and how characters can be developed to such an extent that they seem more human than those we come into contact with each day. This seems to be the case with this bloody remarkable book. So may I ask, What should you be? "Occupied", "Occupied by this book".
shanice thomas More than 1 year ago
This book was an amazing read; I had to recommend it to my friends. Throughout the entire book the scenes came to life in my head. The author wrote about the life aspects of the four main characters faced which is relatable to everyday life. I connected emotionally while reading and it had me thinking about our ancestors and what they had to endure to make the world what it is now. I would recommend this book to a lot of people because it is not your average story and it is educational.
Broly555 More than 1 year ago
So far in my time as a book reviewer, the majority of the books I have read, with a few exceptions, tend to have more of a religious/supernatural element to them, many of which contained Christian themes and elements. So when I came across "Occupied" by Joss Sheldon, I found myself dealing with a story and world that I had yet to explore as a book reviewer. According to his website, Joss Sheldon is a 34-year-old man who has a degree from the London School of Economics. Before he became a writer, Sheldon spent his time “selling falafel at music festivals, being a ski-bum, and failing to turn the English Midlands into a haven of rugby league”. In 2013, Sheldon moved to McLeod Gan, a village in India full of Tibetan refugees. This turned out to be the beginning of his travels that eventually led him to write "Occupied". "Occupied" is a story from the perspective of four different people in the Middle East who experience occupations of various sorts over the course of their lives. The story starts out following Tamsin and her daily life with the Godlies in the village of Doomba. After Doomba is attacked by a group of people known as The Holies, Tamsin and the surviving Godlies of Doomba relocate to the town of Natale as refugees. After that, the story switches to the perspective of Ellie, a Natale native whose father, like many of the natives, complains that the refugees are stealing their jobs, and that they should be expelled from their land. Without giving away too much more of the plot, the story shifts to the perspective of the colonisers who come in later and occupy Natale after the six-day war (a boy named Arun), and the perspective of a family of economic immigrants who come in later (through the eyes of a boy named Charlie). Some of the positives of this book are that Sheldon really captures the feel of a small village like Doomba and a small third-world town like Natale from the perspective of a child running through the village, and running through the streets and marketplace. Sheldon also does a fantastic job of capturing the irony of the refugees complaining about the Protokian soldiers taking away their jobs after the natives of Natale lodged the same complaint about the refugees earlier in the story. The thing that stops me from giving this book an A grade is the fact that part of the story is based on the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Sheldon seems to be sympathetic to the narrative of that issue, which is that the Palestinians were living in the land that Israel has occupied since 1948 before Israel was given that land by the UN, and that the Israel claim that their ancestors lived in the land long before the Palestinians did (which is true if you know the historical records contained in the Old and New Testaments) is somehow illegitimate. While I have a pretty strong disagreement with the part of the story that refers to the Israel-Palestine conflict, I will say that Sheldon has given us a book that is highly readable, well-written, and allows us to relate to the characters involved in the conflict. If you're looking for a heart-wrenching story about ordinary people living through different occupations in the middle east, then feel free to get "Occupied".
Cassatyale More than 1 year ago
“Occupied” is composed of snapshots of three eras in the occupation of a mythical country. We are introduced to each era through the eyes of four main protagonists. The first era of the novel is a lyrical account of the impact of a two-stage Israeli-like takeover of a Palestine-equivalent on the lives of four families: one refugee family, two native families, and one “occupier” family. The first three POV sections are outstanding. The second era/third of the novel is more Kafka than lyrical magical realism. This third is both thought-provoking and mostly well-written. However, two problems made it a less compelling read than the first third: the length and repetition of some polemical passages, and the inconsistent characterization of the four main characters. The book clearly intends most minor characters to be stereotypes, and it works. Per contra, most of the time the main characters are more layered. My sympathy for the main characters disengaged, however, when the author occasionally made them cardboard, too. FREX, Tamsin’s relative detachment when soldiers force her to bear her first baby in the dirt when a hospital is five minutes away, pulled me right out of the story. IMO, no one’s emotions in this Kafka-esque scenario, much less a teenage girl’s, could be that mild. Finally, the futuristic last era is over the top in the style of the last episode of the television series “The Prisoner.” Some of its images are absolutely inspired: I particularly liked the idea that in future marriages, the bride and groom will exchange cell phones instead of rings. However, this last era contained several places where I wanted to say, “Okay, we get it, can we move on?” IMO it could benefit from a ruthless editor. Regarding editing: all sections of the book contained typos and “writeos” (homophones of the intended word), which easily could be corrected. What I actively disliked about the book, however, was *****SPOILER**** its message of “Abandon hope: not only are we all f**ked, but there’s nothing anyone can do about it.” I, personally, do not like such books devoted to that message. Yes, the bad guys often win; but if a book denies all hope of a better outcome for anyone, ever, then it is not one I want to read. ******End Spoiler***** But for that personal preference stated in the Spoiler, I would have given the novel four stars. I was given a free copy of this book through a Goodreads group in exchange for an honest review. (less) flagcomment · see review
RedDirtGirl57 More than 1 year ago
I received this book free from the For Love of a Book Group and/or the author in exchange for an honest review. I understand the basis of the book: Step into a world which is both magically fictitious and shockingly real, to follow the lives of Tamsin, Ellie, Arun and Charlie; a refugee, native, occupier and economic migrant. Watch them grow up during a halcyon past, an everyday present, and a dystopian future. And be prepared to be amazed. Inspired by the occupations of Palestine, Kurdistan and Tibet, and by the corporate occupation of the west, ‘Occupied’ is a haunting glance into a society which is a little too familiar for comfort. It truly is a unique piece of literary fiction… But when I read the book it was so repetitive, the four children and the book was of three stages in their lives. It just wasn't the book for me. I kept reading that it would get better but I was so glad when I finished it and could put it down and be finished with it. There are others that really liked it but count me out. This is my honest review!