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The Lovers: Afghanistan's Romeo and Juliet, the True Story of How They Defied Their Families and Escaped an Honor Killing

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Peter Ganim

12 Hours 28 Minutes


January 2016

Audio Book 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.

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  • phyllis vickers

    This book gives a true history of how the Muslim society works and not necessarily the teaching of the Koran. I have lived in Saudi Arabia for 4 years and know that what is happening in Afghanistan is very true.This book tells a lot about the culture and thinking of the people in that part of the world. It is well written and narrated. I definitely recommend the reading of this book for anyone that does not understand the thinking and cultures of middle eastern countries. I still fear for the lives of these two lovers and understand why they choose to stay in their home land. How could they possibly survive in another country and culture???? Phyllis Vickers

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  • Matt A.

    This was one of the most comprehensively researched book I listened lately as well as eye opening, highly recommend it!

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