We Are Not Such Things

  • by Justine van der Leun
  • Narrated by Laurel Lefkow
  • 17 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A Making a Murderer set in South Africa - a gripping true-crime story of murder and the justice system in the shadow of apartheid.
In 1993, in the final, fiery days of apartheid, a 26-year-old white American activist called Amy Biehl was murdered by a group of young black men in a township near Cape Town. Four men were tried and convicted of the murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison.
A few years later, they had been freed. Two of the men were subsequently employed by Amy's parents to work at a charity set up in her memory. The men grew close to the Biehls. They called them 'Grandmother' and 'Grandfather'.
Justine van der Leun, an American writer living in South Africa, set out to tell this 20-year story, 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 crime actually responsible? And could it be that another violent crime committed on the same day, in the very same area, was connected to the murder of Amy Biehl?
We Are Not Such Things is the result of Justine van der Leun's four years investigating this strange, knotted tale of injustice, hatred, forgiveness and reconciliation. It is a gripping journey through the bizarre twists and turns of this case and its aftermath - and a lucid, eye-opening account of life today in a society still fractured and haunted by apartheid.

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What the Critics Say

"A murder story told with the dramatic tension of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and the precision of the very best non-fiction reporting. Each page bursts with fresh insights." (Barbara Demick, author of Nothing to Envy)
"Fascinating. Shatters convenient narratives about the end of apartheid and the nature of justice, and takes readers on a headlong chase for deeper truths." (Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside)
"This is not just fine journalism but astonishing storytelling. Justine van der Leun brings to the page a rare combination of muscular reporting, limitless curiosity, soulful vision, courage and tenderness" (Jeff Hobbs, author of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace)
"Suspenseful and engrossing. Van der Leun shows how a powerful desire for reconciliation can in fact obscure the truth, a truth we need in order to establish real equity and the justice that all people deserve." (Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black)
"This unsparing but compassionate work will enlighten and shake its readers." (Norman Rush)
"A tour-de-force depiction of modern South Africa. Van der Leun succeeds in telling a complex, nuanced, and perhaps ultimately unknowable story that will captivate all readers." (Publishers Weekly)

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Book Details

  • Release Date: 30-06-2016
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited