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Storyteller's Daughter
by Saira Shah, Shah Saira | Audiobooks
Registered by jessibud of Toronto, Ontario Canada on 3/7/2006
Average 9 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by jessibud): permanent collection

18 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by jessibud from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, March 07, 2006

9 out of 10

From the first time I saw Saira Shah interviewed on *60 Minutes*, I have wanted to read her story in more detail. To have HER read it to me on this audiobook (on 4 CDs) was just such a bonus. It says it is an abridged version, "approved by the author". I have to believe that since she wrote it and reads it, that she would, indeed, make sure that the story came across seamlessly. I am happy to report that, for me, anyhow, it surely did.

Shah's story is at once fascinating, enlightening, lyrical, horrifying and heartbreaking. I learned a lot about a part of the world, and about a people, I knew very little about although I must admit, I can't in all honesty say that I understand the complicated politics of the region or the mentality of the extremists a whole lot more now than I did before.

Shah's wonderful voice, lilting accent and gentle humour and compassion make this audiobook a compelling experience. She has inherited her father's gift for weaving a story and combines it with her reporter's instincts for getting at the truth. She doesn't hesitate to look deep inside herself, either.

Here's a bit of the blurb from the back of the CD jacket:

"The startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. Born in Britain, Saira Shah was inspired by her father's dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears knew for 900 years within sight of orchards, snow-topped mountains, and the minarets of Kabul... Her documentaries *Beneath The Veil* and *Unholy War* have both been broadcast on CNN several times." (click on *read full story*, near the bottom)

I have found a hard copy of this book because I want to read the very ending once more. She ends with an ancient parable which is just so lovely and a very fitting end to this experience.

Saira Shah's story is an important one. I think I am going to offer this up as a bookring. Stay tuned... 

Journal Entry 2 by jessibud from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Monday, March 13, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I have started a bookring for this audiobook, so far, by invitation only. Here is the list and shipping order, as it currently stands. If you want to be moved up or down, just let me know and it shall be done!

1 - Hotflash - Arizona
2 - KimKerry - Arizona
3 - Firegirl - Arizona
4 - Debnance - Texas
5 - oi-reader - Ohio
6 - Antof9 - Colorado
7 - Silentmiaouw - Switzerland
8 - Purple-lilly - Australia
9 - Pashmack - Florida
10 - Aine_ eireann - Nova Scotia
11 - lotusflower77 - Ontario
12 - Sherria - Connecticut
13 - Bobbarama - California
14 - Thursday5 - Ohio
15 - bibliotreker - Pennsylvania
16 - Bascula - Pennsylvania -
17 - giverny82 - Pennsylvania

and back home to me

Journal Entry 3 by hotflash from Tucson, Arizona USA on Wednesday, March 22, 2006

This book has not been rated.

This audio book has arrived safe and sound. (Sorry, it actually arrived about two days ago but BookCrossing time has become a luxury - should have journaled receipt sooner)
I have a cassette tape in my car to finish - this one is next up. I am very much looking forward to what sounds like a fascinating story.
The write-up on the back sound a bit like a book I read back in the 80s: "Guests of the Sheik". It was written from the perspective of a woman living in Iran--the wife of an American anthropologist--and how she learned to blend, to become one of the "veiled ladies" and to live among the woman of the village. Quite an amazing story.

(received some super enclosures with this book ring book - will email later - thanks jessibud !!)  

Journal Entry 4 by hotflash from Tucson, Arizona USA on Friday, March 31, 2006

10 out of 10

Afghan girls have very few years to freely breath the air or view the world unobstructed. Their future is here, in the image of the woman wearing hijab, suffocating behind her veil

This book--this story, Saira Shah for that matter--is quite remarkable. I was immediately struck by the lilting tonality of Shah’s voice. It resonates with intelligence and controlled emotion. Her quest for her roots, her hunger for the Afghanistan of her father’s stories and her grandparent’s time--the lush gardens and beautiful family homes, the music, the marketplaces, the colorful costumes worn by a warm people--was palpable. In her courageous treks back to the homeland of her father, she personified how deep our cultural roots go into our souls.

Saira’s recounting of her travels through war-torn Afghanistan were, as jessibud said, chilling. Her observations about the rise of Taliban and the part our CIA played in Osama BinLaden’s rise to power were infuriating to me and sickening. The Afghanistan I see in pictures on TV is bleak and barren. After reading both this book and The KiteRunner, my visual of Afghanistan is a vivid, Technicolor movie that has been washed out to a drab black and white. While listening to this book, I felt such a sadness for all that the human race has lost through war and political strife. I felt anger towards a government that conspires to keep its people ignorant and blinds them with flag-waving and unquestioning patriotism (our side) and more anger towards the religious extremists that warp a gentle religion into a twisted form, which would be unrecognizable to its originator (their side). The more I read and learn about the U.S.’s part in the bitter struggles for power in places like Afghanistan and Vietnam, the more manipulated and stupid I feel. I guess there is no one really to blame but ourselves: the information is there, we just have to be courageous enough to dig it out and unafraid to be called unpatriotic if we choose search the historical records for the facts rather than just accept the “party line”. The Emperor truly has no clothes.
AND, if this book drums anything home, it is that we in the West will never fully understand a people whose society is, and always will be, fundamentally tribal.

I wish this book could be mandatory reading in our high schools.

An excellent book. Thanks to Jessibud for sharing this one. Like her, I want to find another copy. I just couldn’t absorb it all in one go-round.

Journal Entry 5 by hotflash from Tucson, Arizona USA on Friday, March 31, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Packaged up and ready to go to KimKerry in Prescott, AZ. Should be in the mailbox on Monday! Enjoy.

I found this picture on a website where you can buy chadors. The faceless mannequin speaks volumes. 

Journal Entry 6 by KimKerry from Prescott, Arizona USA on Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Received the audio in this afternoon's mail. I look forward to listening to it!

Thanks, jessibud! 

Journal Entry 7 by KimKerry from Prescott, Arizona USA on Friday, April 07, 2006

10 out of 10

I loved this audio book and I don’t want to let it go! (No, no…don’t worry. I’m sending it off to Firegirl on Tuesday.)

I found Saira Shah to be many things – intelligent, observant, fair-minded, brave, never self-indulgent, warm-hearted, and a truly excellent author. Her narration was a rich, added bonus.

In the beginning I sensed this was going to be a tale of personal discovery, and that would have been fine with me. I was treated to much more than that, however. Her observations of Islam are interesting. Her observations of political motivations and involvements, be they those of the Taliban, Pakistan, or the US are fairly objective and frankly…sad. Shah’s depictions of Afghani culture and history were both educational and addictive since I now want to learn more.

Shah’s observations on human nature as well as her own self are astute, time and time again. Her description of the meeting between her and the editorial board of the English TV news station board was chillingly portrayed. (“Why should we care?”)

A kind of symbolism came into play in the novel as well. The scenes of her trek through the snowy mountains with James seemed to parallel her own stop/start/lost/numbing journey of self.

I think I’ll purchase the unabridged text to read. Hah…and I almost never read anything twice.

Thank you so much for inviting me to this ring, jessibud!! I’ll soon be able to give you a real-life hug!


Journal Entry 8 by wingFiregirlwing from Annandale, Virginia USA on Thursday, April 13, 2006

This book has not been rated.

What excellent timing -- I'll be in the car all weekend. Thanks so much for including me in this ring. 

Journal Entry 9 by debnance from Alvin, Texas USA on Thursday, May 04, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Storyteller's Daughter has arrived! I listened to the first CD today on the drive home and I'm already lost in the story....

More later.... 

Journal Entry 10 by debnance from Alvin, Texas USA on Saturday, May 13, 2006

8 out of 10

Mirrors and windows. That's what multicultural books are, as I learned at a Montessori conference this spring. This book, for me, was both, mirror and window. It was a window into Moroccan immigrant culture, but it felt so similar to my own experiences with the Hispanic immigrant culture here in Texas that I'd have to say it also worked as a mirror. The struggle is everywhere for people to better their lives, yet so often the perceived solution disappoints. 

Journal Entry 11 by debnance at CONTROLLED RELEASE at Alvin in -- Mail, by hand, rings, RABCks etc, Texas USA on Saturday, May 13, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Released 12 yrs ago (5/13/2006 UTC) at CONTROLLED RELEASE at Alvin in -- Mail, by hand, rings, RABCks etc, Texas USA



Off to our next listener! 

Journal Entry 12 by oi-reader from Toledo, Ohio USA on Monday, May 15, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Arrived safely on my porch this afternoon. Am looking forward to listening during my lunch hours this week. Thanks for inviting me to participate Jessibud! 

Journal Entry 13 by oi-reader from Toledo, Ohio USA on Wednesday, June 07, 2006

8 out of 10

What a lovely and in many ways sad tale. For a very long time I have been a chairside advocate for supressed women world wide, and Shah's story just validates my concerns. In many ways listening to this book reminded me of listening to my sister in law tell tales of growing up in Pakistan. It is a gentle reminder of no matter how far we are from our roots we never truly leave them behind, and that we as "western" women should never take what we have as freedom for granted.

Thank you Jessibud for inviting me to participate in this bookring. It is my first and I look forward to joining more. I am now actively seeking a hard copy of this book!

It is being mailed tomorrow morning to Antof9! 

Journal Entry 14 by wingAntof9wing from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Monday, June 12, 2006

This book has not been rated.

It's here in Colorado! Even though oi-reader just contacted me a few days ago (gosh, it arrived quickly), I've been so busy I forgot about it. When I opened the package, I was pleased to be reminded that this is the Beneath the Veil lady. I was also a little disappointed to see that it was an abridged version, until I read the parts that jessibud notes in her original entry -- that is, the "Abridgment is approved by the Author", and that the author is the one who reads it. That intrigues me, as the only other audio book I've listened to (also from jessibud) had a fabulous actress whose voice was perfectly matched to the story. This should be another good pairing of reader-to-subject, so I'm looking forward to listening to it.

Now to find time when I'm near a CD player. Perhaps this will force me to go down to Colorado Springs and visit my grandmother (not that I need forcing -- it will be a good excuse!). That way I'll have a good hour or more each way to get started. Either way, I'll listen to this as soon as I can and try to get it moving again quickly. I can't promise anything, as I have no commute (I work from home), but I'll do my best!

Thanks for sharing this, jessibud, and thanks for getting it here so quickly, oi-reader! 

Journal Entry 15 by wingAntof9wing from Lakewood, Colorado USA on Thursday, July 27, 2006

This book has not been rated.

ok. . . First, I'm adding the book to my wish list :)

Second, thanks for being so generous, jessibud, and saying it was ok to send this with Unk on his 6-day road trip!

The best part was that I had listened to all of CD1 and most of CD2 when he left, so he only listened to the first 2 and then we listened to the rest on the drive back (I flew down but drove back with him). He said it helped keep him awake on the road (which he DESPERATELY needed), and wanted to be sure I passed on his thanks too :)

That said, this was just fascinating to listen to (which is partially why I knew Unk would like it). I felt like I was reading a book, getting a history lesson, hearing another side of politics, and learning culture all at the same time. This author, reading these words in her own voice made this very compelling. So far, jessibud, you're 2 for 2 on audiobooks for me!

One problem w/ audio books is that you can't mark things you wanted to note in your journal entry. There was a quote on the first CD that I don't have word-for-word, but really liked the idea. It was something one of her relatives (possibly her father?) said to her. It was something like, "trust in God, but tie up your camel".

I'll be sending this on to silentmiaouw shortly. Thanks again, jessibud! 

Journal Entry 16 by wingover-the-moonwing from Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Wednesday, August 09, 2006

This book has not been rated.

arrived today! thanks jessibud and ant, will not be able to start listening tonight but hopefully tomorrow! And I have just the right picture waiting on my flickr stream to go with it. 

Journal Entry 17 by wingover-the-moonwing from Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Thursday, August 24, 2006

This book has not been rated.

I'm now listening to the 4th CD so have nearly finished, and have asked Purple-Lilly for her address.
it is a new experience for me, taking in a book through my ears rather than my eyes - and reminds me of my childhood when we didn't have a TV and spent our evenings listening to plays on the radio. It is quite restful - and I keep pen and pad close by to make notes when inspired. The only problem is knowing when to stop - with a book you can easily see how many pages are left till the end of the chapter; here I've been listening before going to work so sometimes have to stop almost in mid-sentence.
I looked up more info. on Saira Shah on the internet and found this interview which is quite interesting.

Journal Entry 18 by wingover-the-moonwing from Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Friday, August 25, 2006

10 out of 10

In my life I have had three fleeting encounters with Afghans and all three have left deep impressions in my memory. The first was in a seedy nightclub in Paris in 1969, another at our local community centre in Lausanne in the 70s, and the last at a dinner party in 1985. They were tall, gaunt, proud and dangerously attractive, with chiselled features and piercing eyes. The second one, Walid, organized an Afghan evening, screening a film of his beautiful rugged country taken in the 60s, while his wife and children dished out Afghan specialities; a spicy goulasch-type soup and a milky dessert flavoured with cardamom.
These three came back to mind (and the fragrance of cardamon) as I listened to the gentle voice of Saira Shah telling her story. Beyond the tragedy of political wrangling, war and repression, the rights and wrongs of the mujahideen and the Taliban, the poignancy of the events related, and the helplessness it all makes me feel, I was sent to wondering about national identity and genetic makeup; do we all search for a “land of our fathers”? Does it make sense? I don’t think it does, in this modern world. Whatever, Saira Shah is lucky to have inherited bravery and fearlessness (maybe something of her Scottish grandmother there, too), and lucky to have had the freedom of a Western education; where would she be had she been brought up in Afghanistan? But I enjoyed listening to it and it has aroused my interest in that part of the world.

In one of those strange coincidences, the day I finished this I popped into my local bookshop and found sitting on the shelf “An Unexpected Light”, travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot. Of course I bought it (as if I did’t have enough to read).
The CDs are packed up and ready to mail to Australia.

Journal Entry 19 by Purple-lilly from Heathfield, South Australia Australia on Friday, September 08, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Received yesterday in the mail. I am really looking forward to listening to this. Thanks jessibud, and thanks silentmiaow for the lovely postcard. 

Journal Entry 20 by Purple-lilly from Heathfield, South Australia Australia on Thursday, October 12, 2006

8 out of 10

At last a day in the holidays where I could give this book serious attention. Beautifully written as others have said before, revealing, lyrical, heart wrenching,thrilling and more. Definitely a window into a view of Islam that we in the West are rarely privy to. How very close we are all under the skin, closer than our physical and cultural differences would have us believe. Thankyou for including me in this ring jessibud, I have pmed pashmack for her address and will be winging it on its way soon! 

Journal Entry 21 by Purple-lilly at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, November 16, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Released 11 yrs ago (11/16/2006 UTC) at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post -- Controlled Releases



Posted off to the next person on the list, enjoy! 

Journal Entry 22 by pashmack from Lake Worth, Florida USA on Thursday, November 30, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Arrived today, safe and sound, with the envelope bearing the label,"Delayed for compliance with Aviation Security Regulations". Interesting. I'll get started listening to it soon. Thanks! 

Journal Entry 23 by pashmack from Lake Worth, Florida USA on Saturday, December 09, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Well, the other journal entries for this book have been awesome - what can I say that hasn't been said?

This was a very absorbing audiobook. I have seen both of the author's documentaries, Beneath the Veil and Unholy War, and it was so very interesting to hear the detailed backstories. As soon as I heard the part about the three little girls, and Shah describing the tear falling down the cheek of one, I remembered her face and the scene very vividly from the documentary. Heartbreaking...

Other incidents that really struck me: -When Shah wanted to cover civil war breaking out in Afganistan, her boss or colleague (can't remember who, exactly) says, "Is any of this our fault? Can you convince me that we should care?"

-When, after the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996, aide workers are allowed to feed the little boys but not the girls.

-When someone questions Shah as to why the West cares more about the Buddha statues than famine and death, etc. that has occurred in Afganistan.

So many things really touched me - I, too, will probably end up buying a print version of this book. Right now, however, having just finished listening, I am feeling beset with weltschmertz...

Thanks so much for sharing, jessibud. I'll get this into the mail to aine-eireann on Monday morning. 

Journal Entry 24 by aine-eireann from Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada on Monday, December 18, 2006

This book has not been rated.

Received today, December 18. Thanks Pashmack. Look forward to a rich 'listening' experience. 

Journal Entry 25 by aine-eireann from Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada on Saturday, December 30, 2006

9 out of 10

This is my first experience with a CD book. Thank you Jessibud for the opportunity, and such a rich experience it was. With her mellifluous tones, Shah takes us on a journey of the human spirit, opening up Afghanistan in a far more revealing way, showing us that the country is far more complex and culturally rich than the evening news would lead us to believe. She has the ability to inspire and engage both intellectually and emotionally in gripping fashion, tempered with gentle humour as she recounts her clandestine forays into Afghanistan with the mujahidin as a fledgling reporter. The combination of ancient wisdom, colorful people and locales, horrific atrocities, and the hope that is endemic to humanity despite everything, is wonderfully realized here. We can rarely fit the world's complexities into the narrow confines of our own preconceived notions and oversimplifications, but Shah truly takes the reader/listener to places that we could never have known – with the gift of a true storyteller - as she attempts to reconcile the romantic Afghanistan of her father's tales with the country's reality after years of devastating civil war. Being able to visualize her experiences through listening to her own spoken words, one reaches a deep inner place in a rare and wonderful way. Thanks again. 

Journal Entry 26 by aine-eireann from Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada on Thursday, January 04, 2007

9 out of 10

Mailed to lotusflower77 January 3. I apologize for the delay - I've had a pinched nerve and haven't been out and about until yesterday. 

Journal Entry 27 by Lotusflower77 from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Friday, January 12, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Received with thanks from aine-eireann yesterday (thursday)....will get to it after the weekend. Hopefully, I won't take more than a week to pass it on. I hope that's OK. Thanks for sharing this with us Jessibud. 

Journal Entry 28 by Sherria from Bethel, Connecticut USA on Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This book has not been rated.

This arrived today and I'm looking forward to listening to it. It's supposed to be cold this weekend, so I plan to light a fire and curl up with my knitting while listening to this story. 

Journal Entry 29 by moondawgger from Carlsbad, California USA on Thursday, February 15, 2007

This book has not been rated.

This arrived in the mail from Sherri yesterday. Judging from all the reviews so far, I'm looking forward to popping this into the player. I'll try to get it moved quickly. Thanks, jessibud, for including me in.

PS: This is my second audio book. I highly recommend the first one I listened to: Shadows of the Wind. You can see the review I wrote on the book on my site for anyone who is interested. 

Journal Entry 30 by moondawgger from Carlsbad, California USA on Sunday, March 18, 2007

This book has not been rated.

I finished this audiobook earlier this week ... having listened to it in my car every day for most of a month as I drove to and from work and other places. Totally engrossing. I didn't realize until I got the audiobook that the author was reading her own story. Her own words in her own voice. That was wonderful.

Thanks jessibud.

I'll contact Thursday5 and get it in the mail this week.

UPDATE: I mailed this book this morning (5/14). It is expected to reach Thursday5 by Wednesday ... Thursday at the latest. Thanks again. 

Journal Entry 31 by Thursday5 from Columbus, Ohio USA on Wednesday, May 16, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Arrived today. The timing worked out well for me because we will be going on a trip soon and I can listen to it on the trip. 

Journal Entry 32 by Thursday5 from Columbus, Ohio USA on Monday, June 18, 2007

10 out of 10

I listened to this in the car on the way to a bookcrossing meet-up in another part of the state. An amazing story...and so beautifully told on the DVD. I enjoyed reading all the other journal entries and I don't think I could top what you have already said. This book certainly fits the description on my bookshelf of "a good book" including the criteria that it "expands your horizons". I am going to buy the book for my home library-I think it is an important historical record to have in our collection as well as a beautifully written book. Thank you so much jessibud for sharing this audio book.

I have sent a PM to bibliotreker and will get it sent on as soon as I hear back.


Journal Entry 33 by bibliotreker from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Thursday, July 05, 2007

This book has not been rated.

Arrived safely today in PA. I was eagerly looking forward to listening to this CD. Unfortunately, I'll be flying out of town in a couple of days so I won't be able to listen to much of it until I return in a week. I'll be on a long road trip for two weeks shortly after I return and can finish it then. 

Journal Entry 34 by bibliotreker from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA on Friday, August 10, 2007

10 out of 10

What a great experience it was to listen to "The Story Teller's Daughter" in the crisp rich voice of the author. I loved how she effortlessly pronounced the melodious language, one of great joys of listening to an audio recording read by the author who knows the language and culture of other countries. I was pulled into the events, felt as though I was journeying over the mountain tops of Afghanistan. It had such meaning now the world is involved in this conflict in Afghanistan, a world most of us knew so little about back several years. Thanks, jessibud, for the chance to listen to this real-life journey of Saira Shah.

Mailed to bascula today. Hope she enjoys it as much as I did. 

Journal Entry 35 by wingBasculawing from Ridley Park, Pennsylvania USA on Monday, August 13, 2007

This book has not been rated.

This audiobook arrived safely in the mail. Thanks! I will listen to it once I am finished listening to The Book Thief. 

Journal Entry 36 by wingBasculawing from Ridley Park, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

8 out of 10

I listen to a lot of audiobooks on my commute to and from work. Shah did a beautiful job reading her own work, and it is always a pleasure to me to know when words are being properly pronounced.

This book gave me a picture that I did not really have before, in the first person. The dream Afghanistan that Shah holds in her heart is so beautiful - and truly did exist - and it is so wrenching that all I picture when I think of the country is dry, dusty mountains and dirty fighting men hiding in them. She showed me something else, even though she never really found it herself. She also taught me something about the underlying spirit of the Afghani people - their generosity and optimism.

Sometimes it surprised me to hear her mention words and names that show up in the news regularly, because she was making them real to me. I could no longer pretend that I had no connection with these faraway cities or people, because she was there, and she met them!

I may keep an eye out for her documentaries.

This book will go next to a coworker (with jessibud's permission given) who is a young Afghani woman raised in Germany. She may or may not journal it (or even finish it), and I will send it back when she is done.

I would have to say that this did 'feel' abridged to me, and I would like to have heard more....

Thanks for inviting me to be part if this, jessibud! 

Journal Entry 37 by wingBasculawing from Ridley Park, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This book has not been rated.

This book is still making the rounds at my workplace, and just today (when I thought I would return it) I found another person who is intersted in listening to it. 

Journal Entry 38 by giverny82 on Friday, October 26, 2007

8 out of 10

A friend / co-worker had leant me this book on tape and introduced me to Book Crossing. Years ago I was an avid read. Like most people, time is something which seems to get away from us in our hectic life. Therefore, I have gotten away from my refuge of being lost inside the pages of a book.

This was my first book on tape and initially I found it hard to focus as my mind would drift to picture painted by the writer. Once I was able to overcome this, I found this book to be quite thought provoking. I now have a better understanding of what has happened in the past, and how we have gotten to where we are today in the Middle East. More so it afforded me the opportunity to learn more about the people, their struggles and their beliefs.

Thanks so much to my friend who has not only brought the world to me through this book, but renewed my thirst for learning through the eyes of another and/or put my world aside for a time and get lost in a good book.

Journal Entry 39 by jessibud from Toronto, Ontario Canada on Friday, December 14, 2007

This book has not been rated.

This bookring is home!

A huge thanks to all who participated and have enjoyed it. There were even a few silent non-bookcrossers who managed to squeeze in and share this one. Again, my thanks to everyone.

Happy holidays to all 

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