Download The Occasional Virgin: A Novel Audiobook

The Occasional Virgin: A Novel Audiobook, by Hanan al-Shaykh Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Hanan al-Shaykh Narrator: Soneela Nankani Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2018 ISBN: 9780525634256
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A bold, tragicomic novel about two clever thirty-something women—successful in their careers but unlucky in love—from one of the most important Middle Eastern writers at work today.

On a sunny beach in the Italian Riviera, Yvonne and Huda relax by the sea. But as their vacation unfolds, their troubled pasts seep through to the present. Both women spent their childhoods in Beirut—Yvonne raised in a Christian family and Huda raised in the Muslim faith—and find that while they left their families behind, they are still unable to escape their families' reach. As the novel unfolds, and as the story moves back in time to Beirut, and then forward to London, both friends undertake their own quests for romance and love. Here we follow the tumultuous lives and occasionally shocking choices of these two complicated, deeply engaging women torn between the worlds they were born into and the worlds they've created for themselves. The Occasional Virgin is a witty and wry, poignant and perceptive novel for our time. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Irony and iconoclasm are the orders of the day in al-Shaykh’s bittersweet tale of friendship and disillusionment. . . . Al-Shaykh, who has drawn both admiration and condemnation in her native Lebanon for frank depictions of women’s sexuality and criticism of women’s powerlessness in traditional social structures, continues to grapple with these issues in ways both farcical and profound. It’s the small moments—of both absurdity and genuine pathos—that will remain with readers, as Yvonne and Huda struggle to reconcile where they came from with who they’ve become. Publishers Weekly
     
  • Novelist and memoirist al-Shaykh delivers an elegant story of a friendship that is anything but easy. . . . [The] novel is full of quiet regrets as it speaks gracefully to the challenges of friendship, challenges that threaten to drive the two women apart but that, in the end, instead strengthen their bond. Another winning book by one of the most distinguished Arabic-language writers at work today. Kirkus Reviews
     
  • Lebanese-born, Cairo-educated, and London-based, al-Shaykh writes piercingly about Middle East upheaval and especially women in the Arab-Muslim world. Somewhere along the French Riviera, two young women from Beirut—Muslim-raised Huda and Christian-raised Yvonne—reflect on their tumultuous lives and struggles with work and love. Library Journal
  • Brilliant! The Occasional Virgin is a modern Jane Austen comedy—wise, witty, and unexpectedly profound. I loved it. Alberto Manguel
  • A refreshing, thought-provoking look at the weight of history on the lives we build for ourselves. . . . Al-Shaykh’s prose invites readers into the vivid imagery of [her two protagonists’] minds as they grapple with religion, family, relationships, and their own identities; both are complex, fully realized characters. Booklist
     

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About the Narrator

Soneela Nankani, an Earphones Award–winning narrator, is a classically trained actress, voice-over artist, and singer who has had roles in film and on television. She has worked with the award-winning Sojourn Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.