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Download The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee's Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half the World Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugees Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half the World Audiobook, by Gulwali Passarlay Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Gulwali Passarlay Narrator: Assaf Cohen Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2016 ISBN: 9780062470690
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A gripping, inspiring, and eye-opening memoir of fortitude and survival—of a twelve-year-old boy’s traumatic flight from Afghanistan to the West—that puts a face to one of the most shocking and devastating humanitarian crises of our time.

“To risk my life had to mean something. Otherwise what was it all for?”

In 2006, after his father was killed, Gulwali Passarlay was caught between the Taliban, who wanted to recruit him, and the Americans, who wanted to use him. To protect her son, Gulwali’s mother sent him away. The search for safety would lead the twelve-year-old across eight countries, from the mountains of eastern Afghanistan through Iran and Europe to Britain. Over the course of twelve harrowing months, Gulwali endured imprisonment, hunger, cruelty, brutality, loneliness, and terror—and nearly drowned crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Eventually granted asylum in England, Gulwali was sent to a good school, learned English, won a place at a top university, and was chosen to help carry the Olympic Torch in the 2012 London Games.

In The Lightless Sky, Gulwali recalls his remarkable experience and offers a firsthand look at one of the most pressing issues of our time: the modern refugee crisis—the worst displacement of millions of men, women, and children in generations. Few, like Gulwali, make it to a country that offers the chance of freedom and opportunity. A celebration of courage and determination, The Lightless Sky is a poignant account of an exceptional human being who is today an ardent advocate of democracy—and a reminder of our responsibilities to those caught in terrifying and often deadly circumstances beyond their control.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Narrator Assaf Cohen so perfectly captures the voice of an expressive kid that it’s hard to remember he isn’t the author of this enthralling memoir…Cohen nails both the nasty and nice characters—everyone from Kurd to Englishman—and brings moving expression to Gulwali’s growing confidence amid enough terrors for a lifetime. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • “A powerful account of a year-long journey…[A] life that was almost snuffed out so prematurely is now bursting with promise.”

    Times (London)

  • A heartrending read that illuminates the plight of unaccompanied minors forced to leave their homes and loved ones…A testament to the courage of all those fleeing conflict in search of safety.”

    Independent (London)

  • “A remarkably vivid memoir [that] leaves you fearing for Gulwali’s safety…also a fearsome reminder of the experiences being endured by numberless, anonymous migrants.”

    Herald (Glasgow)

  • “A vivid, timely story of survival. If spies live in boredom punctuated by flashes of terrifying action, then refugees on the run live in constant high anxiety punctuated by flashes of horror and panic.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
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About the Author

Gulwali Passarlay fled Afghanistan as a young boy, escaping the conflict that claimed his father’s life. After an extraordinarily tortuous journey across eight countries, he arrived in the United Kingdom a year later. Now, at twenty-one, Gulwali is set to graduate from the University of Manchester with a degree in politics, and he is also a member of many prestigious political, aid, and youth groups.

About the Narrator

Assaf Cohen is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator. He has appeared in various plays, short films, and television shows. He grew up in Palo Alto and attended UC Berkeley where he earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology. He continued his classical training by earning a master of fine arts in acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University under the instruction of legendary acting instructor William Esper.