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Åsne Seierstad / Two Sisters
April 19, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Two Sisters, by the international bestselling author Åsne Seierstad, tells the unforgettable story of a family divided by faith. Sadiq and Sara, Somali immigrants raising a family in Norway, one day discover that their teenage daughters Leila and Ayan have vanished—and are en route to Syria to aid the Islamic State. Seierstad’s riveting account traces the sisters’ journey from secular, social democratic Norway to the front lines of the war in Syria, and follows Sadiq’s harrowing attempt to find them.
Employing the same mastery of narrative suspense she brought toThe Bookseller of Kabul and One of Us, Seierstad puts the problem of radicalization into painfully human terms, using instant messages and other primary sources to reconstruct a family’s crisis from the inside. Eventually, she takes us into the hellscape of the Syrian civil war, as Sadiq risks his life in pursuit of his daughters, refusing to let them disappear into the maelstrom—even after they marry ISIS fighters. Two Sisters is a relentless thriller and a feat of reporting with profound lessons about belief, extremism, and the meaning of devotion.
Praise for Åsne Seierstad’s One of Us (2015), a New York Times Book Review ‘10 Best Books of 2015’ selection:
“Like Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, [One of Us] has an omniscient narrator who tells the story of brutal murders and, by implication, sheds light on the society partly responsible for them. Although those two books are beautifully written, I found One of Us to be more powerful and compelling . . . The book attains an almost unbearable weight . . . One of Us must have been difficult to write, and yet from the opening pages it has an irresistible force.” —Eric Schlosser, The New York Times Book Review
“‘Utøya’ and ‘July 22nd’ assume new meaning for me when I read [One of Us]. Once again, that day becomes something concrete, not a phenomenon, not an affair, not an argument in a political discussion but a dead body bent over a stone at the water’s edge.”—Karl Ove Knausgaard, The New Yorker
“One of Us reads like a true crime novel, but it has the journalistic chops to back it up . . . [It] is the story of Norway, its people, and the lengths one will go to feel like they belong. Not only a stunning achievement in journalism, it’s a touchstone on how to write about tragedy with detail, honesty, and compassion.”—Samantha Edwards, The A.V. Club
Åsne Seierstad is an award-winning Norwegian journalist and writer known for her work as a war correspondent. She is the author of One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway—and Its Aftermath, The Bookseller of Kabul, One Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal,Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War, and With Their Backs to the World: Portraits of Serbia. She lives in Oslo, Norway.