• Everything Sad Is Untrue

  • (A True Story)
  • By: Daniel Nayeri
  • Narrated by: Daniel Nayeri
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (856 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At the front of a middle-school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls "Daniel") stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much. 

But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy...and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of the sunset had burst over everything, and further back still to the jasmine-scented city of Isfahan. 

Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth. And it is (a true story).

©2020 Daniel Nayeri (P)2020 Listening Library

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What listeners say about Everything Sad Is Untrue

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Could not get through it—2 out of 7 hrs

I heard his interview on NPR and thought it would be an interesting read. I was not ready for the gory details. After the “bag of cats” story, that was it for me. So depressing I knew I could not finish it. I am so sorry. I know it is a personal story and has relevance and meaning but with everything else going on, I don’t need this in my mind to ponder. I am sorry too that he wound up in a community who does not accept outsiders and am not sure life was a whole lot better except he and his mother are alive instead of beheaded.

Daniel does a great job reading and providing verbal cues and nuance but the story is extremely sad and overwhelming. I believe this is why soldiers returning to “normal” life cannot speak of the atrocities they have seen and experienced—we cannot relate and are horrified. It is a burden to all. I appreciate his willingness to tell his story but I cannot make room for it in my mind and heart just now. Best wishes on his book and hope others are braver and tougher than I am and will finish and appreciate the whole story.

13 people found this helpful

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Unbelievably wonderful

A direct and engaging and unexpected narrator, a multi-layered story that spans centuries and continents yet remains immediate and recognizable - humor and pain and insight that is unforgettable.

8 people found this helpful

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Wow!

Best book I've read in a couple of years! I couldn't put it down. The author shared his experiences beautifully and matter of factly. It wasn't overly sad.

7 people found this helpful

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must read must hear

every American should read this understand the plight of all immigrants no matter where they come from. This book was truly motivating I have already read twice

7 people found this helpful

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Exceptional!

Great writing and even greater reading! That's for giving us a glimpse into Iranian culture

7 people found this helpful

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Everything they say is true

I just finished "Everything Sad is Untrue" by Khosrou Daniel Nayeri, narrated by Khosrou Daniel Nayeri. He takes us through the memories of his childhood, inspired by Scheherazade, who told 1001 stories to stay alive and ultimately win the heart of the listener.
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? "Modern masterpiece" "Like nothing else you've read or ever will read." All those things are true. I guess all I can say is how it changed me. I also grew up as a first-generation immigrant in a mostly white area. So in many moments of the book, Khosrou was the friend I needed. Experiences, past and present, hurt less when you can laugh through them.

But I am a Muslim who freely left a Muslim majority country, unlike Nayeri. I was compelled to be "the god that listens", hearing the internal and external struggle of his mother. Holding my love for my religion but also holding the sad truth of what religion can do. Though Nayeri never states his religious beliefs, religion is a character in this story, the things we do for faith, and the things we lose due to religion. Nayeri captured it beautifully for a young audience, may we all find "a God who speaks and God who listens."

The story within the story that will always stay with me is the story of the refugee child. A story doesn't end.

Enough from me. Read this book. Have your children read this book.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book!

This book was recommended by a friend. I usually steer clear of author read books because they can be really hard to listen to, but I took a chance and WOW! Am I glad I did! This book is something totally different a f absolutely enjoyable! Enjoy!!

2 people found this helpful

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Did not like

Refund please- I bought this at the recommendation of a friend I believe in two hours in and really cannot do anymore.

1 person found this helpful

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heartwrenching and heartwarming

Daniel Nayeri weaves a "patchwork tale" that will make you weep, laugh, hate the world and then marvel at it's beauty over and over again. I wish I could listen to his stories for another 7 hours and then again and again. Above all he shows that all of us are different and yet all needing and wanting empathy. Listen and be better for it.

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Ambivalent

I wanted to put this book down several times particularly at the first. The stream of consciousness was maddening. The “poop stories” unpleasant and not completely necessary.

However, the tale of being a refugee whose mother is under a death threat fatwa for converting to Christianity is compelling. Telling the story through the eyes of a child is a clever approach and it is often very cleverly constructed and verbalized. I never cease to be amazed by the ability of persons to learn the English language then use it write with literary mastery. Sometimes the cleverness was distracting. Some topics were introduced but never resolved (his father’s arrest?)

I wanted to love this book as much as “Kite Runner,” but it fell short for me. Worth reading and above average writing. 3.5/5

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  • Tricia
  • 09-08-22

This Story Had to be Told

This story had to be told and I'm so glad to have listened to it. Sad stories told with such warmth and humour. There's so much that goes on that we mostly know nothing about. We see the news, the snapshots but Daniel tells of the humanity. Don't want to say too much, but recommend it wholeheartedly.

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  • Nirali Peter
  • 11-14-21

loved it!

great story telling and keeps you guessing. well written and well read. best read of the year

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-26-21

Amazing Read

The best book I’ve enjoyed in some time. I can’t describe the interesting way the story is in narrated in the first person talking to both the reader and the author’s teacher in the form or written expositions. A combination of personal stories, family history and Persian fables are woven together to create an amazing and personal depiction of a young immigrants journey.

Perfect for middle school classrooms

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