Kasa Cotugno's Reviews > In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari

In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda
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's review
Jul 08, 11

bookshelves: genre-biography-memoir, vine, location-middle-east, subject-immigration-experience
Read from July 06 to 08, 2011

This is an amazing account of one young Afghani's life, a life in which childhood is eliminated well before its time. During the Taliban terror, Enaiatollah Akberi's mother removes him to Pakistan for his own safety, abruptly leaving him there so as to return to her village and her two other children. She knew her 10 year old son well enough to know that despite his youth, he would be able to survive. As with Dave Eggars' treatment of the life of Valentin Achak Deng in What is the What, Febio Geda writes in fiction, even though the facts of Enaiat's life presented here are as close to reality as he can remember. Geda also peppers the narrative with injections of conversations between the two of them giving the memoir an even deeper poignancy.

This is a decpetively slim volume, but there isn't a superfluous word and even though there is much hardship endured in this journey, Enaiat never wavers or breaks any of his mother's three cardinal rules (with one exception, necessary for survival). Neither does he indulge in self pity. How he manages to make the journey from Pakistan to Italy, the people he meets along the way who show kindness, the resolution of what he makes of himself when he arrives in Turin -- all this makes for a story as remarkable as the young man who lived it.

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