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Extended Audio Sample The Sirens of Baghdad Audiobook, by Yasmina Khadra Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (650 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Yasmina Khadra Narrator: Jason Collins Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455193769
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A student at the University of Baghdad must return to his small village home when the Americans invade Iraq. There, he witnesses American soldiers kill the benign village idiot, bomb a wedding, and finally, terrorize his family in his own home. Consumed by the desire for vengeance, the youth leaves for the city, where he is taken in by a radical group. After proving his mettle in several attacks, he is entrusted with a super-secret mission, which he struggles to reconcile with his moral principles.

A masterful look at the effects of violence on ordinary people, The Sirens of Baghdad explores the depths of human nature as it confronts the most horrific circumstances.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Yasmina Khadra’s work has been compared to that of his Algerian compatriot Albert Camus, and The Sirens of Baghdad has a similar blaze of heat, the same heavy, insoluble questions and the same need to face them down, even to one’s death…The novel builds to a startling and wrenching finish.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Like all the great storytellers of history, Khadra espouses the contradictions of his characters, who carry in themselves the entirety of the human condition.”

    Le Point (Paris)

  • “An astonishing novel with overtones of Camus…It’s simply admirable…a magisterial work of fiction.”

    Lire (France)

  • “Couldn’t be more timely…[Khadra] manages to make the thoughts of a suicide bomber accessible to a Western readership, even as the scope of the terrorist’s intended target…will send a shiver down the spine of most readers…Khadra manages to inject a note of hope toward the end, without betraying his powerful message of how the occupation of Iraq has brutalized both the Iraqis and the Americans.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “With sincere-sounding feeling, Jason Collins delivers the story of a young man’s quest to repudiate his homeland, war-ravaged Iraq. Collins creates distinctive personas for the novel’s various male characters—in particular capturing the young protagonist’s anger with society as well as his turmoil at finding himself displaced in the world. Somber, with a slightly angry edge, the story builds as the quiet youth is urged by a radical group to make a difference. Collins delivers his lines in an increasingly clipped and hard-bitten tone as the plot escalates. With his masterful delivery Collins propels the listener through an intense story.”

    AudioFile

  • “This is Khadra’s second novel about a phenomenon that mystifies so many Westerners—the educated, intelligent Arab terrorist…it dramatically embodies the points about cultural clash that Meic Pearse argues in Why the Rest Hate the West (2004). That is, it shows why crystal-clearly.”

    Booklist

  • “Perhaps the most frighteningly plausible doomsday scenario yet to appear in fictional treatments of this seemingly insoluble crisis. And if it doesn’t scare the hell out of you, you’re not paying enough attention.”

    Kirkus Reviews

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea Stremmel | 2/17/2014

    " Very good book. Read Sirens of Kabul as well. Both are excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Battle Pincus | 2/2/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. It is the third book in a trilogy,but it is not necessary to read the otehr two books. I think the writer beautifully explains what has happened in Iraq and gives the American people a new perspective on the war. I think it is a must read and took a couple of days to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon Archer | 1/17/2014

    " Awesome. Poetic, enlightening, disturbing, hypnotic. Absolutely tore through this. Should be required reading for all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 debbie | 1/16/2014

    " about a young iraqi boy who experiences three horrific incidents in a span of a week or two...after the last one he heads out to baghdad to join the resistance...he gets caught up in something so deadly that in the end he must question if killing is the way to end the war...it's a very good book...eye opening as to what the iraqi people are going through... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam Ofman | 1/11/2014

    " Well written, the Narrator does a great job of presenting the other side of terrorism. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Leslie | 1/8/2014

    " No, no, no, I didn't like this book. The prose seemed stilted, the emotions weren't reall present and the last line, blah. Not really worth it (and the writer in me hates to be so critical and dismissive of someone else's hard work, but I just felt SUPER disappointed in this book). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 1/1/2014

    " This is a compelling look into Muslim fundamentalist terrorism, seen through the eyes of a nameless character, a small village Iraqi Bedouin, who goes to university in Baghdad to study, but is forced back to his village when war breaks out, with the expulsion of Sadam hussein. When the war touches the village, the village fool is killed by American troops, who then enter the Bedouin`s home & deeply humiliate his father in front of the family. His world shatters & he flees back to Baghdad to join the fundamentalists who are fighting the coalition. His misadventures there lead him to reconnect temporarily with a villager, an ex-army officer, who lives in a gay relation, is a drunkard,and who swears & was therefore despised in the village- but who puts him up, and then connects him with another villager who is running a terrorist cell. He is gradually increasingly involved & ultimately picked for a mission which will put 9-11 to shame. He will be infected with a highly infectious, rapidly mutating virus which he will carry to London & spread as widely as possible. Shortly before that, the rabid terrorist propagandist professor, who used to espouse a liberal antifundamentalist viewpoint & then turned to the very opposite philosophy because of bitterness at having his abilities underrecognized in the West, is again rocked in his attitude by a visiting Arab novelist living in Paris, who has a pacific tolerant philosophy. The professor is fully acquainted with the virus plot&tries to talk the student out of doing it, but the latter hits him with an ashtray, nearly killing him, and goes ahead to the airport, where he observes families & lovers about to fly to London, and then realizes they don`t deserve to die. He sits in the departure lounge for several flights, is picked up by the terrorist cell, and the novel ends as he sits on a height overlooking Beirut, refusing to move. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 12/23/2013

    " Anyone who wants to understand why we should get out of Iraq today, every single American soldier, should read this book. To Iraqis, American style democracy is totally irrelevant. We need to understand what IS important to Iraqis to understand the harm we are doing. It also provides a window into the mind of a suicide "bomber". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 M. | 12/21/2013

    " This is my favorite of all I have read by Yasmina Khadra. A great ending in my opinion, anyone else? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 So Hakim | 12/17/2013

    " Good idea, but lacks execution. Some characters are underdeveloped. Also there's rather implausible use of biological weapon... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 12/11/2013

    " Great book. A very interesting read about the American invasion of Iraq. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn | 11/10/2013

    " An excellent look inside Iraq from a different point of view. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ghennet | 9/19/2013

    " To know and understand why there's hatred towards the western world & Israel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gerda | 6/30/2013

    " An excellent book, written with much insight into Muslim society and it's culture of respect for elders, but also of the need to revenge a dishonourable deed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/21/2013

    " In novel form this traces the process of radicallization happening in the Middle East and Iraq. It very convincingly set out our shortcomings besides being a gripping portrayal of a suicide bomber.I would like to read the other two parts to this trilogy but couldn't find them in our library. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 4/13/2013

    " definitely makes you think about the US and the West from a different perspective. The feelings of closeness to family and place are very foreign to most Americans and life so limited "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordon | 2/22/2013

    " He writes with such humility, it's hard not to get completely absorbed into the characters' lives. After this book I've since tried to find all his others to read, all just as engrossing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Muse Lystrala | 8/18/2012

    " Loved it. Excellent illustration of Iraqi culture and the effects of the Iraq War on its society. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 3/3/2012

    " Great book. So well written. A view of the war in Iraq from the side of its citizens and how profoundly they have been affected. Although the story shows the inevitable creation of extremism among everyday Iraqi's you are left in the end with a sense of hopefulness. Well done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sekhar | 2/6/2012

    " Great book. The other side of the nightly news "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene toscana | 2/2/2012

    " Beautiful, powerful, tragic book, the best one among Yasmina Khadra's books. A story for anyone who truly wants to understand something of Iraq. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abbie | 12/6/2011

    " Definitely not an uplifting book, but incredibly good insight into an Iraqi perspective of the war. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Haley | 6/18/2011

    " An interesting perspective for someone like me who rarely wonders what goes on in the minds of people contemplating becoming a suicide bomber- I always think they're radicalized think nothing of their other motivations. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adrienne | 5/15/2011

    " No simple stories or neat and tidy endings, but thoughtful and heart breaking at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jon | 2/14/2011

    " Awesome. Poetic, enlightening, disturbing, hypnotic. Absolutely tore through this. Should be required reading for all. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 1/19/2011

    " A compelling novel of the suicide terrorist. The author keeps us engaged in the internal struggle of a young Iraqi man over whether or not to commit an act of revenge. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sam | 12/25/2010

    " Well written, the Narrator does a great job of presenting the other side of terrorism. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Poupou | 12/23/2010

    " Very interesting view of an Iraqi kamikaze.
    The other side of the mirror is revealed without any emphasis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Haley | 9/16/2010

    " An interesting perspective for someone like me who rarely wonders what goes on in the minds of people contemplating becoming a suicide bomber- I always think they're radicalized think nothing of their other motivations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 8/23/2010

    " Great book. So well written. A view of the war in Iraq from the side of its citizens and how profoundly they have been affected. Although the story shows the inevitable creation of extremism among everyday Iraqi's you are left in the end with a sense of hopefulness. Well done. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Georges | 6/25/2010

    " Um jovem é recrutado para uma missão suicida. Os preparativos, as dúvidas, os argumentos, os dramas de cada um. Um visão da vida de um país em guerra, seu povo e como a fé, a política e questões pessoais se entrelaçam e levam as escolhas de cada um. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Irene | 6/2/2010

    " Beautiful, powerful, tragic book, the best one among Yasmina Khadra's books. A story for anyone who truly wants to understand something of Iraq. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ahmed | 5/18/2010

    " Another great book by Yasmina Khadra. Only this one would need more concentration than his first book (The Attack) which was a very fast paced. This book took me off guard, especially the ending, very unexpected and beautiful way to end a journey which we kinda knew how it would end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathleen | 2/22/2010

    " definitely makes you think about the US and the West from a different perspective. The feelings of closeness to family and place are very foreign to most Americans and life so limited "

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About the Author
Author Yasmina Khadra

Yasmina Khadra is a pen name of Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul, who is the author of three other books published in English: The Swallows of Kabul, In the Name of God, and Wolf Dreams. He took the feminine pseudonym to avoid submitting his manuscripts for approval by military censors while he was still in the army. He lives in France.

About the Narrator

Jason Collins has been seen on numerous stages in the Northwest, including the Seattle Shakespeare Company, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. He is the recipient of three prestigious Footlight Awards.