• The Lovers

  • Afghanistan's Romeo and Juliet, the True Story of How They Defied Their Families and Escaped an Honor Killing
  • By: Rod Nordland
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-26-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • 4 out of 5 stars (71 ratings)

Regular price: $28.51

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Publisher's Summary

A riveting, real-life equivalent of The Kite Runner - an astonishingly powerful and profoundly moving story of a young couple willing to risk everything for love that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about women's rights in the Muslim world.

Zakia and Ali were from different tribes, but they grew up on neighboring farms in the hinterlands of Afghanistan. By the time they were young teenagers, Zakia, strikingly beautiful and fiercely opinionated, and Ali, shy and tender, had fallen in love. Defying their families, sectarian differences, cultural conventions, and Afghan civil and Islamic law, they ran away together only to live under constant threat from Zakia's large and vengeful family, who have vowed to kill her to restore the family's honor. They are still in hiding.

Despite a decade of American good intentions, women in Afghanistan are still subjected to some of the worst human rights violations in the world. Rod Nordland, then the Kabul bureau chief of The New York Times, had watched these abuses unfold for years when he came upon Zakia and Ali and has not only chronicled their plight but has also shepherded them from danger.

The Lovers will do for women's rights generally what Malala's story did for women's education. It is an astonishing story about self-determination and the meaning of love that illustrates, as no policy book could, the limits of Western influence on fundamentalist Islamic culture and, at the same time, the need for change.

©2016 Rod Nordland (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Eye Opening and Heart Breaking

Would you consider the audio edition of The Lovers to be better than the print version?

I never read the print version, but I can imagine you would get the advantage in the Print Edition to do further research on many of the organizations/ reports in the book. It's a lot easier to do a Google search on a name in a book than trying to recall it an hour later from what you heard.

Have you listened to any of Peter Ganim’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Not that I think...

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

It really exposes many of the hardships that the women in Afghanistan are facing, and almost how powerless they are to change what's thrown upon them. I was surprised to learn how in many cases third party intervention and public awareness is really the only hope for these women. I think sometimes we as Americans like to take the stance that "we shouldn't get involved" and this is a really good example of why we absolutely should. The thing that helped these women more than anything was exposure. And it's something that I will never underestimate again.

Any additional comments?

It can be a little repetitive at times, which is both good and bad. And it's a hard book to listen through in one setting. Many of the discussed subjects and given examples are very, very heart-breaking. But, it does give you excellent insight into some portion of Afghanistan's culture.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Daryl
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 04-05-16

More than a Love Story

This book is powerful, beautiful, tragic and hopeful. It is a story of a young couple who wished to marry against the woman's family's wishes. Despite their impoverished upbringing, illiteracy, and innumeracy, they found ways to communicate, to marry and to try and carve out lives for themselves. They made mistakes, asked too much or unnecessarily tried to go it alone...
This is a story about two people in Afghanistan, and yet it is more than that. It is about women in Afghanistan and the rights they do not have. The west may have helped in some ways by invading Afghanistan, but in other ways things have not changed in the past 15 years.
Well-written, well-read, and worth your time and credit.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Epilogue and Appendices save this book

Great narration, but the story soon became tedious and annoying. The political recap at end of book saved this from an even lower rating.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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eye opening, a must read

I can't believe all of this occurred in 2013/2014, you would think these things didn't happen in the world anymore! omg!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Educational, Eye Opening

Narration was perfection. Simple, clear and non distracting exactly what you want in non fiction.

This story was clearly a work of non fiction. If you are looking for a dramatic romeo and juliet story that sweeps you away this isn't exactly it. There is some Drama of course, their lives are in danger but, everything plays out at a slower, calmer pace but that's fine these are two real people with real lives. I found the side stories of other Afghani's incredibly interesting. This book really gives you a picture of what life in rural Afghanistan is like. The love story is not exactly the great romance it is advertised to be. Just two young people living in restrictive conditions who knowing nothing of the outside world find each other to cling to.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Educational and Inspiring

You'll learn a lot about the cultures that kept them apart and the atrocities against women that are rampant still today.

Narration was very dull, was like listening to a reporter the entire time. Which, I guess it is.

As I said in the title, it is inspirational that these two fought against their cultures for love, and that means a lot.

Educational on how and why women in Afghanistan are treated like they are.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enlightening and Heartbreaking

This book truly opens one's eyes to a way of thinking that is hard for those raised in first world nations to imagine exists in this day of age. Even before women's rights happened in America, this way of treating wives, mothers, and daughters was far beyond most people's thinking. It is comparable only to the horrors of slavery or the Holocaust, where one person is mere property of another, without any rights, and the victim is the one punished and held responsible when their only "crime" is to have been born a different race or religion or gender than their abuser. The plights of the women mentioned in this book are truly heartbreaking.

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Brilliant book about Afghanistan

This book was written so well, so informative, so shocking! An incredible true story about a boy and a girl and their crime of love. It also is an interesting account of what has transpired in Afghanistan for the last several decades and how in spite (or maybe as a result of) of the billions of dollars spent by multiple countries and NGOs, Afghanistan is still no better off (especially its women).

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

depressing at the treatment of women.

narrator well done. apparently male prisoners are raped as well. what about having normal sex

0 of 2 people found this review helpful