Saturday 18 February 2012

In The Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda

Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers.  He also works with children in difficulties.

In The Sea There Are Crocodiles, published in the UK by Harvill Secker is his first book to be translated into English.

This is the fictionalised account of a true story.  The recreation of the story of Enaiatollah Akbari, a young Afghan boy who was abandoned by his Mother when they were seeking safety outside Afghanistan.

Fabio Geda met Enai whilst in Italy, he has tried to be as true to the story as possible, using Enai's own words and memories.

Enai and his mother had fled their homeland of Afghanistan, to find a safer place to live.

One morning Enai wakes to find that his Mother has gone, left him with nothing but some sage words of advice; don't use drugs, don't use weapons and don't steal.  

Enai is ten years old and now alone, in a strange land where he knows nobody.  This is the start of a remarkable five year journey for Enai, as he makes his way to Europe with just his Mother's words of advice for company.

Fabio Geda has retold Enai's story excellently.  Enai is humble child, yet masterful, eager to learn and a hard worker, he stays true to his Mother's teachings throughout his long hard journey across many countries.

It is difficult to imagine the horrors that this small child saw and experienced along the way - the human traffickers who take desperate people's money in exchange for a small space in the bottom of a lorry, the deaths that he saw along the way, the 20 odd day trip across the mountains.  Enai got through these trials with pure determination and need to find a new life.

This is a very relevant book, and pulls no punches.  An essential read that will open the eyes of the reader.

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