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Publisher's Summary

The Persian epic that inspired Eric Clapton's unforgettable love song "Layla" and that Lord Byron called "the Romeo and Juliet of the East", in a masterly new translation.

The iconic love story of the Middle East, by a 12th-century Persian poet who has been compared to Shakespeare for his subtlety, inventiveness, and dramatic force, Layli and Majnun tells of star-crossed lovers whose union is tragically thwarted by their families and whose passion continues to ripple out across the centuries. Theirs is a love that lasts a lifetime, and in Nezami's immortal telling, erotic longing blends with spiritual self-denial in an allegory of Sufi aspiration, as the amenities of civilization give way to the elemental wilderness, desire is sublimated into a mystical renunciation of the physical world, and the soul confronts its essence.

This is a tour de force of Persian literature, in a translation that captures the extraordinary power and virtuosity of the original.

This audiobook includes a PDF that contains notes from the book. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Nezami Ganjavi and Dick Davis (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A highly engaging tale of impossible love.... The first verse translation of the 12th-century Persian poet Nezami...Davis’s rhythmic translation is full of lush imagery.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Nezami...paints a visionary world full of erotic tension and trepidation which is both sublimated and enriched with psychological chiaroscuro.” (Italo Calvino) 

What listeners say about Layli and Majnun

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"Cringeworthy" narration spoils all

I'd like to read the book, and I will. But the narrator who reads the part of Majnun is terrible. He cannot read verse, pausing at every line end... his delivery also seems rushed. I'm surprised a house like Penguin could release such a product with its name on it, but maybe they aren't as committed to quality as previously.

And I know this is personal preference but the other two narrators didn't float my boat either. Everything is wrong with the narration of this classic.

The translation seems pitiful at times, as well.

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  • Dennis Sommers
  • 02-14-21

Absolutely superb!

This is a magnificent production: Dick Davis distinguishes himself by his translation of this complex poetry into rhyming pentameters, and all three readers handle them superbly. Davis’s introduction is helpful and informative, and highlights areas of potential difficulty for first-time listeners; moralising, for example, and the occasional inconsistency in the story. I await more beautiful productions like this one.

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  • David Adams
  • 04-20-22

Beautifully Crafted and Narrated

This audiobook is fascinating.
Beautifully written and in translation sublime.
Thank you Dick Davies and everyone in bringing such a staggering, heartbreaking piece to life.
I've also bought the book and I'll continue to dip into it for the wonderful prose~☆

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  • Stacy Danika Alcantara-Garcia
  • 04-04-21

Incredible!

Dick Davis brought Nezami's work straight into the heart of a modern audience. Just amazing.