'This Country' with Nahvied Mahdavian on Wednesday's Access Utah
Before Navied Mahdavian moved with his wife and dog in November of 2016 from San Francisco to an off-the-grid cabin in rural Idaho, he had never fished, gardened, hiked, hunted, or lived in a snowy place. But there, he could own land, realize his dream of being an artist, and start a family—the Millennial dream. Over the next three years, Mahdavian leaned into the wonders of the natural Idaho landscape and found himself adjusting to and enjoying a slower pace of living. But beyond the boundaries of his six acres, he was confronted with the realities of America’s political shifts and forced to confront the question: Do I belong here?
Mahdavian’s beautifully written and unflinchingly honest graphic memoir, This Country: Searching for Home in (Very) Rural America, charts his growth and struggles as an artist, citizen, and new father. It celebrates his love of place and honors the relationships he makes in rural America, touching on dynamics like culture, environment, and identity in America, and even articulating difficult moments of racism and brutality he found there as a Middle Eastern American. With wit, compassion, and a sense of humor, Mahdavian’s insider perspective offers a unique portrait of one of the most remote and wild areas of the American West.
Navied Mahdavian has been a contributing cartoonist at the New Yorker since 2018. His work has also been published in Reader’s Digest, Wired, and Alta Online and the books The Rejection Collection and Send Help! Before becoming a cartoonist, he taught the 5th grade where he learned most of his jokes. Navied was born in Miami and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, a Sundance-award winning filmmaker, and their daughter.