review: in the sea there are crocodiles

05 May 2012

book info:
ages: 14 and up
grades: 9 and up    why? some violence may be present
on sale: now
copy from: school library
pages: 215 (small pages)


title: IN THE SEA THERE ARE CROCODILES
authors: Enaiatollah Akbar and Fabio Geda
stars: 3.5

{When ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari’s small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat’s remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen.

Along the way, Enaiat endures the crippling physical and emotional agony of dangerous border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days on end or being stuffed into the false bottom of a truck. But not every­one is as resourceful, resilient, or lucky as Enaiat, and there are many heart-wrenching casualties along the way.

Based on Enaiat’s close collaboration with Italian novelist Fabio Geda and expertly rendered in English by an award- winning translator, this novel reconstructs the young boy’s memories, perfectly preserving the childlike perspective and rhythms of an intimate oral history.}

My thoughts:

There's something strangely beautiful about war stories and about the endurance the most unlikely people have, the courage and the heart. Enaiat sounds cold in the book, unfeeling, but there's this underlying warmth. The biographical events were short and concise, only the events matter (as Enaiat is stubborn on preaching) What he says, what happens to him, in enlightening.
"Good. At least time is certain
No, Fabio. Nothing's certain.
Time is, Enaiat. It runs at the same speed in every part of the world
Do you think so? You know something, Fabio? I wouldn't be so sure"
(Geda, 75)
Things that are so...thought-provoking. Enaiat grew up thinking in a way not many people think like, and his point of view is something special. Each section of the story is in a different country, and the story is the boy telling it to the author, Fabio Geda, instead of true autobiographical form. The little conversational interjections written in between had this rhythmic flow to the whole story, bringing bits and pieces together, and though it seems a bit chunky, the details that are not written keep an air of mystery to everything. And writing with that enigmatic sort of mystery is an enjoyable thing.

I would really recommend this to people who are old enough to handle it.

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