We Are Not Such Things by Justine  van der Leun audiobook

We Are Not Such Things: The Murder of a Young American, a South African Township, and the Search for Truth and Reconciliation

By Justine van der Leun
Read by Erin Bennett

Blackstone Publishing, Blackstone Publishing 9780812994506


Format: Library CD (In Stock)
  • ISBN: 9781504785020

  • ISBN: 9781504785013

  • ISBN: 9781504785037

Runtime: 19.30 Hours
Category: Nonfiction
Audience: Adult
Language: English



New York Times Editor’s Choice

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Justine van der Leun reopens the murder of a young American woman in South Africa, an iconic case that calls into question our understanding of truth and reconciliation, loyalty, justice, race, and class.

The story of Amy Biehl is well known in South Africa. The twenty-six-year-old white American Fulbright scholar was brutally murdered on August 25, 1993, during the final, fiery days of apartheid by a mob of young black men in a township outside Cape Town. Her parents’ forgiveness of two of her killers became a symbol of the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa. Justine van der Leun decided to introduce the story to an American audience. But as she delved into the case, the prevailing narrative started to unravel. Why didn’t the eyewitness reports agree on who killed Amy Biehl? Were the men convicted of the murder actually responsible for her death? And then Van der Leun discovered another brutal crime committed on the same day, in the very same area. The true story of Amy Biehl’s death, it turned out, was not only a story of forgiveness but also a reflection of the complicated history of a troubled country.

We Are Not Such Things is the result of Van der Leun’s four-year investigation into this strange, knotted tale of injustice, violence, and compassion. The bizarre twists and turns of this case and its aftermath—and the story that emerges of what happened on that fateful day in 1993 and in the decades that followed—come together in an unsparing account of life in South Africa today. Van der Leun immerses herself in the lives of her subjects and paints a stark, moving portrait of a township and its residents. We come to understand that the issues at the heart of her investigation are universal in scope and powerful in resonance.

We Are Not Such Things reveals how reconciliation is impossible without an acknowledgment of the past, a lesson as relevant to America today as to a South Africa still struggling with the long shadow of its history.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Bennett’s intelligent delivery keeps the history lesson engaging and the crime as shocking as ever…Bennett’s extraordinary narration captures [the] revelations of oppression, racial inequality, and gender-based violence, taking listeners deep into the heart of a complex nation. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile
“This…is consummate in its reach and penetration.” Norman Rush, National Book Award–winning author
“Suspenseful and engrossing…Shows how a powerful desire for reconciliation can in fact obscure…the equity and justice that all people deserve.” Piper Kerman, New York Times bestselling author
“A fascinating case study, a feat of investigative journalism…[and] a total page-turner, a gripping Serial-like true-crime story.” Vogue
“A Truman Capote–style detective story…Perform[s] that rare alchemy of transforming the particular into something more universal.” Financial Times (London)
“Timely…gripping, explosive…Obsessive forensic investigation.” New York Times Book Review
“A gripping narrative that examines the messiness of truth, the illusory nature of reconciliation, [and] the all too often false promise of justice.” Boston Globe
“A masterpiece of reported nonfiction.” Newsday
“A tour-de-force depiction…A complex, nuanced, and perhaps ultimately unknowable story that will captivate all readers.” Publishers Weekly
“An intimate, intricate depiction of embedded journalism.” Library Journal




Author Bio: Justine van der Leun

Author Bio: Justine  van der Leun

Justine van der Leun, after graduating with a degree in journalism from New York University in 2003, spent three years working as an associate editor and writer at O, The Oprah Magazine, before becoming a full-time freelance writer and editor with a focus on narrative nonfiction. She is the author of the travel memoir Marcus of Umbria: What an Italian Dog Taught an American Girl about Love. She and her husband live in Ethiopia.

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Available Formats : CD, Library CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 19.30
Audience: Adult
Language: English