BINDERY: Åsne Seierstad / Two Sisters

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 7:30pm

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 to The 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.


With Åsne in conversation is Mary Kay Magistad -- please join us!


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.


Mary Kay Magistad is creator and host of the “Whose Century Is It?” podcast, a Webby Award honoree about ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century. Mary Kay also teaches international journalism to undergrads in UC Berkeley’s summer journalism minor program and, for more than two decades, was an award-winning international correspondent, reporting in some 40 countries in Asia and Africa. Mary Kay was a 1999-2000 Nieman fellow and a 2001-2002 Radcliffe fellow, both at Harvard University. 




Please note: this event will be held at The Bindery, 1727 Haight. RSVP appreciated but not required. 


This is an all ages event. The bar opens at 7, event begins at 7:30pm.


If you cannot attend the event but would like to request a signed copy of Two Sisters, order below and put your request in the comments field. 



Two Sisters: A Father, His Daughters, and Their Journey into the Syrian Jihad By Åsne Seierstad, Seán Kinsella (Translated by) Cover Image
By Åsne Seierstad, Seán Kinsella (Translated by)
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780374279677
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 3rd, 2018

The Bookseller of Kabul By Åsne Seierstad Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316159418
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - October 26th, 2004

One of Us: The Story of a Massacre in Norway -- and Its Aftermath By Åsne Seierstad, Sarah Death (Translated by) Cover Image
By Åsne Seierstad, Sarah Death (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374536091
Availability: Out of Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 12th, 2016