Saturday 30 July 2011

Review: In the Sea there are Crocodiles - Fabio Geda

Adult Cover / YA Cover

If you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, then life will always be worth living.

One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah's mother tells him three things: don't use drugs, don't use weapons, and don't steal.  The next day, the ten-year-old Afghan boy wakes up to find she has gone.  He is on the border of Pakistan, and he is all alone.

In this remarkable true story, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah's five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy.  His ordeal takes him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, enduring unimaginable hardships and challenges.  Enaiatollah's engaging voice is brilliantly captured by Geda, and his dramatic search for a place to call home is a universal story of courage in the face of fear.

Visit Fabio Geda's website (the website is in Italian, for an English translation click here) for more information

In the Sea there are Crocodiles is the true story of a young boy from Afghanistan and his journey through Iran, Turkey and Greece before he requests asylum in Italy.  This is truly an extraordinary tale and one that you need to read with a box of tissues close to hand because I defy you to get through it without shedding at least a few tears.  Enaiatollah is just 10 years old when his mother takes him to a town on the Pakistan border, when he wakes up in the morning his mother has gone.  Alone in the world Enaiatollah has to do the worst kind of jobs just to earn enough to feed himself, all the while searching for a place where he can belong, a place to call home.

Throughout his journey Enaiatollah faces hardships we can't even begin to imagine, he works long hours for little pay, he lives in squalid conditions and he puts his life in the hands of people traffickers every time he tries to move on.  It is horrific to think of the things he went through and even worse to think of the thousands of children around the world who are currently in a similar situation but who probably won't all survive to see a happy ending.  Enaiatollah had a long and difficult journey but in a lot of ways he was lucky (I know that sounds like the most stupid thing to say but if you read the book you'll understand what I mean!) and he always managed to maintain a sense of hope.  There are a lot of times when he is given a helping hand from a friend or even a stranger and without that there is no doubt he wouldn't have made it as far as he did.

I cried tears of sadness as I was reading the book but I was sobbing with happiness by the end.  The kindness shown to Enaiatollah by others was heartwarming to read about and gives you hope for the future.  In the Sea there are Crocodiles is a beautiful story.  Written in a simple style, mainly in Enaiatollah's own words, it isn't a literary masterpiece but it is an incredibly powerful and compelling read.  This is definitely a story that will make you appreciate the little things in life and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

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