Åsne Seierstad is a Norwegian author and journalist. She is especially known for her work on life in war-territories. She has written a few other books, one becoming a bestseller, depicting life during the war in Kabul. Her most recent book “To Søstre,” meaning ‘Two Sisters’ was published in October 2016 and has already won the Brage-award.
The book revolves around two sisters who decided to join ISIS in Syria. The topic is very relevant considering the events of today and gives insight into the world of Norwegian-Somalians. Seierstad has interviewed, researched and pried to get the information needed to produce this book. The parents of the two girls who travelled have bravely told their stories in the hopes that other parents and friends will be able to see the signs of radicalisation, which they did not see until it was too late. The book revolves mostly around the father of the girls, who goes to Syria to find them, but the oldest brother Ismal also plays a central role in telling the story. The girls themselves did not respond to the requests Seierstad sent, but stories from friends, family and teachers gave Seierstad a valid foundation to make assumptions about their lives.
Youth travelling to Syria to join ISIS has stagnated luckily, but a lot of youths have becomeradicalised still, which to many is a hard thing to imagine. Seierstad has done her best to tell us how it happened and how different views on religion developed and unfolded in one family. The girls grew up in Norway, one of the most Western countries in the world. The state is widely secularised and inclusion of all religions is what we aim for. I am a white, middle-class full-Norwegian female who grew up in the most Norwegian street you can find. I rarely see this side of my own country, which has taught me a lot about Norway as well as what is happening in Syria.
The story is true, which makes it so much more emotional and incredible. Everyone should read this book. It is terribly important today. Seierstad tells the truth in a captivating yet simple way that fills knowledge gaps I know I have been needing to fill. Seeing what is happening in Aleppo right now it is clear things need to change. Everyone needs to understand what is happening. This book will help you.