11 May 2012

In the Sea there are Crocodiles

by Fabio Geda

Random House. Children’s Fiction, YA. Paperback RRP $24.95

In the Sea there are Crocodiles is based on the story of Enaiatollah Akbari, a young Afghan asylum seeker, told in first person by the Italian novelist, Fabio Geda. Enaiatollah keeps interrupting the narrative to add comments in his own voice. This unusual telling allows the missing information to be ‘guessed’ when Enaiatollah cannot remember, while at the same time giving a child’s perspective.

Enaiatollah’s is a sad story. He leaves his home and family to travel from Afghanistan to Pakistan with his mother when he is around ten years of age. In Pakistan they stay in a “motel” for three nights. Then his mother makes him promise, before he falls asleep, to never use drugs, to never use a weapon and to never steal. When he wakes up she is gone.

Over the next five years, Enaiatollah lives as an illegal immigrant in countries and conditions we could never imagine. He quickly learns how to survive and amazingly ends up in Turin, Italy, to be granted political asylum. His journey to Italy is one of danger, heartache and courage. He walked for 28 days over the freezing mountains from Iran to Turkey and when he and four other boys travel in a blow up dingy across the Mediterranean Sea, one doesn’t survive. He also has incredible fortunate experiences - from the kindness of strangers to climbing onto the right container at the right time.

Truly inspiring.

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