Synopses & Reviews
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.
Told with humor and humanity, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles brilliantly captures Enaiat’s moving and engaging voice and lends urgency to an epic story of hope and survival.
"Based on the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari, a young boy whose agonizing struggle begins after his native Afghanistan becomes a dangerous place to live, Geda's novel is his first book to be translated into English. Enaiat is 10 years old when his mother takes him from their village into Pakistan, leaving her other children behind. She shepherds her eldest son to presumed safety while imparting three tenets for adulthood: don't use drugs, don't use weapons, and don't cheat or steal. She leaves him during the night and when he realizes she's gone and he's alone, he finds a series of jobs and transient shelters while trying to figure out which country might provide him with the chance to survive. He crosses into Iran, only to be to repatriated to Afghanistan under harsh conditions. His treacherous existence is filled with touching moments of accomplishment, as when he's able to buy a watch. 'I'd often thought about having a watch, just to give some meaning to the passage of time...' Geda includes a running dialogue between himself as author and Enaiat that gives perspective to the tale as the boy forges onward, crossing borders and leaving his childhood far behind. The book is simply written, and strangely distant emotionally, but gives a face to the refugees who face daunting odds to get to the West. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
FABIO GEDA is an Italian novelist who writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers. This is his first book to be translated into English. Howard Curtis is a London-based translator of Italian and French texts, for which he has won numerous awards.