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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) 

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  • Dennis Sommers
  • 14-02-21

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


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