The Lovers

  • by Rod Nordland
  • Narrated by Peter Ganim
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.

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- Rachel Coats

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.
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- Daryl

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-26-2016
  • Publisher: HarperAudio