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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 (Paperback)

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Description


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.

Praise For…


“A hopeful tale of youthful romance, of passion and perseverance against the backdrop of a war ravaged Afghanistan. . . . [Nordland’s] skills as a journalist are evident in his rendering of this love blossoming against all odds.”

“A rich account of Zakia and Ali’s romance that doubles as an indictment of the Afghan patriarchy’s abuse of women and the failures of all those in power, inside and outside the country, to curtail it.”

“Nordland offers a stark, eye-opening look at the deplorable state of women’s rights in Afghanistan through the travails of a brave, determined young couple.”

“From the couple’s elopement to their elevation to media prominence, Nordland’s storytelling remains gripping, with more than a hint of Shakespearean drama.”

“Meticulously reported and written, Nordland’s book is an exceptionally well-delineated glimpse into the marriage practices of a closed patriarchal society and the suffering it has caused women. A provocative, well-told story of love . . . and an incisive examination of the continued violation of women’s rights in Afghanistan.”

“An appealing love story of a young couple from neighboring farming families in mountainous northern Afghanistan. … A heartfelt, readable account for those interested in the personal impact of a decade of American engagement in Afghanistan.”

“A captivating account of forbidden love in one of the world’s most conservative countries. Nordland takes the reader on his personal journey to save a couple from the inevitable doom of secret love in Afghanistan and reveals an unprecedented window into the country’s cultural constraints.

“This sensitive and unblinking portrait of love and injustice somehow encompasses Afghanistan’s recent tragedy: hope, suffering, disillusionment, resilience. Rod Nordland has come as close as any Western reporter to the human heart beneath the headlines.”

“... a searing analysis of the endemic gender terrorism in a culture where no woman of any age or class . . . is immune from brutality at the hands of her own kinsmen. You will never use the word ‘patriarchy’ casually after you read it. And read it you must.”

“Rod Nordland has written a riveting, romantic page-turner about two young people fighting to be together against terrible odds. This is a vitally important book that exposes the abominable treatment of women by a society the U.S., in its ignorance, has fought to preserve.”

“With The Lovers, Rod Nordland has delivered a true-to-life Romeo & Juliet story that cuts straight to the heart. This saga of Zakia and Ali is raw, poignant, uplifting, and suspenseful, and absolutely compelling throughout.”

“Rod Nordland is a master at bringing war down to the human level.”

“A deeply reported and deeply felt book about true love and its political and personal consequences in one of the most dangerous countries in the world, for journalists and lovers, too.”

“The appalling way Afghanistan denies rights to women, and the indifference of government officials the United States has spent years and billions of dollars supporting there, should make Americans wary of plunging in anywhere else to remake a culture we have no clue about--as this astounding book makes clear.”

“A gripping read and a compelling exploration of Afghanistan well beyond its headlines. You will be thinking about Ali and Zakia long after you have finished the book.”

“... a lyrical look at a love story that at once inspires and frightens. . . . Nordland introduces the reader to the complexities of Afghanistan’s traditions and cultures and the charm of the Afghan people, who cherish hope while struggling against the tragedies that come with decades of destruction.”

“The dramatic tale of Zakia and Ali reminds us of the human stakes for women that grow from cultural conventions in so many parts of the world. Norland’s patient tracking of this incredible saga tells us as much about Afghanistan as it does about the contours of the heart.”

“The dramatic tale of Zakia and Ali reminds us of the human stakes for women that grow from cultural conventions in so many parts of the world. Norland’s patient tracking of this incredible saga tells us as much about Afghanistan as it does about the contours of the heart.”

“Rod Nordland develops a captivating and beautifully-written true story of an elopement into an analysis of Afghan misogyny and domestic violence which reveals more about conservative Afghan life and the struggle to change it than most other non-fiction books about the country.”
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062378835
ISBN-10: 006237883X
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: December 13th, 2016
Pages: 400
Language: English