Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey Into the Syrian Jihad
'Åsne Seierstad is the supreme non-fiction writer of her generation. Her latest work is haunting, luminously written and compelling. A brilliant book. Two Sisters isn't only the story of how a pair of teenage girls became radicalised but an unsparing portrait of our own society - of its failings and its joys' Luke Harding, author of Collusion
One morning in October 2013, nineteen-year-old Ayan Juma and her sixteen-year-old sister Leila left their family home in Oslo. Later that day they sent an email to their parents. 'Peace, God's mercy and blessings upon you, Mum and Dad ... Please do not be cross with us...'
Leila and Ayan had decided to travel to Syria, 'and help out down there as best we can'. They had been planning for months. By the time their desperate father Sadiq tracks them to Turkey, they have already crossed the border. But Sadiq is determined to find them.
What follows is the gripping, heartbreaking story of a family ripped apart. While Sadiq risks his own life to bring his daughters back, at home his wife Sara begins to question their life in Norway. How could her children have been radicalised without her knowledge? How can she protect her two younger sons from the same fate?
Åsne Seierstad - with the complete support of the Juma family - followed the story from the beginning, through its many dramatic twists and turns. It's a tale that crosses from Sadiq and Sara's original home in Somalia, to their council estate in Oslo, to Turkey and to Syria - where two teenage sisters must face the shocking consequences of their decision.
Asne Seierstad was born in 1970 and studied Russian, Spanish and the History of Philosophy at Oslo University. An internationally bestselling author, she has also received numerous awards for her journalism. She has worked as a war correspondent across the world, including Russia, China, Iraq and Afghanistan. Her second book, The Bookseller of Kabul, has sold over two million copies and the paperback was in the Sunday Times top ten for over a year. Her other critically acclaimed works include A Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal and The Angel of Grozny. Following the atrocities in Oslo and Utoya in July 2011, she attended the trial of Anders Breivik and then began work on One of Us, which became a European bestseller. All of Asne Seierstad's books are published by Virago.