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Download What Language Is That: (A Story from Say You’re One of Them) Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample What Language Is That: (A Story from Say You’re One of Them), by Uwem Akpan Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,399 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Uwem Akpan Narrator: Robin Mile Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Uwem Akpan’s stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few listeners will feel they’ve ever encountered Africa so immediately. Akpan’s voice is a literary miracle, rendering lives of almost unimaginable deprivation and terror into stories that are nothing short of transcendent.

In “What Language Is That?” two young Ethiopian girls are best friends until religious riots break out in the city. Suddenly their parents tell them they cannot speak to each other anymore because one is Muslim and the other is Christian.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Drops the reader into the midst of wonderfully rendered worlds, and compellingly so. I hope it finds the wide readership it merits.”

    Oscar Hijuelos, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love

  • “Akpan wants you to see and feel Africa, its glory and its pain.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “A startling debut…Akpan is not striving for surreal effects. He is summoning miseries that are real…He fuses a knowledge of African poverty and strife with a conspicuously literary approach to storytelling filtering tales of horror through the wide eyes of the young.”

    New York Times

  • “Awe is the only appropriate response to Uwem Akpan’s stunning debut…so ravishing and sad that I regret ever wasting superlatives on fiction that was merely very good.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Uwem Akpan…captures a ravaged Africa through the dry-eyed gaze of children trying to maintain a sense of normalcy amid chaos.”


  • “Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian Jesuit priest, has said he was inspired to write by the ‘humor and endurance of the poor,’ and his debut story collection…about the gritty lives of African children—speaks to the fearsome, illuminating truth of that impulse.”


  • “Nigerian-born Jesuit priest Akpan transports the reader into gritty scenes of chaos and fear in his rich debut…set in war-torn Africa. Akpan’s prose is beautiful and his stories are insightful and revealing, made even more harrowing because all the horror—and there is much—is seen through the eyes of children.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Haunting prose…A must-read.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book
  • An Oprah’s Book Club Selection in 2009
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Nominated for the Story Prize for Short Fiction
  • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction
  • Nominated for the Guardian First Book Award in 2008
  • One of the Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2008

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Robin | 2/19/2014

    " My life is easy compared to what those in Africa and other third world countries have to bear- also, children are sheltered here...not so much in other locations in the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Amanda | 2/6/2014

    " Wow. This book broke my heart. I know about the different conflicts covered and the atrocities that go on, but to read them from children's points of view really made me think. I had some nightmares because of this one, but I think it is worth a read because people need to know what is going on if there is to be change. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joan Dwoskin | 2/5/2014

    " Heartbreaking, violent, scarring stories of poverty and civil war in Africa. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Julie Mendel | 1/31/2014

    " This book is a collection of stories told from a child's perspective. The stories surround poverty stricken families and the means taken to make ends meet. I found it sad and disheartenig. "

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About the Author
Author Uwem Akpan

Uwem Akpan was born in the village of Ikot Akpan Eda in southern Nigeria. After studying philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of East Africa. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006. “My Parents’ Bedroom” was one of five short stories by African writers chosen as finalists for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2007, Akpan began a teaching assignment at a Jesuit college in Harare, Zimbabwe.