What would you do if, when you were ten, you were left to fend for yourself, and, in order to survive, you had to undertake a harrowing journey all the way from Afghanistan to Italy?
In early 2002, Enaiatollah Akbari’s village fell prey to the Taliban. His mother, fearing for his life, led him across the border. So began Enaiat’s remarkable and often publishing five-year ordeal—trekking across bitterly cold mountains, riding the suffocating false bottom of a truck, steering an inflatable raft in violent waters—through Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Greece, before he eventually sought political asylum in Italy, all before he turned fifteen years old.
Here Fabio Geda delivers the moving true story of Enaiat’s extraordinary will to survive and of the accidental brotherhood he found with the boys he met along the way. In the Sea There Are Crocodiles brilliantly captures Enaiat’s engaging voice and humor, in what is a truly epic story of hope and survival, for readers of all ages.
About the Author
Fabio Geda is an Italian novelist who works with children under duress. He writes for several Italian magazines and newspapers and teaches creative writing at Scuola Holden, the Italian school of storytelling in Turin. This is his first book to be translated into English.
Enaiatollah Akbari graduated from high school in the spring of 2011 and plans to attend university in Italy while continuing to support his mother and siblings, who are now living in Pakistan. He dreams of having the chance to return one day to a democratic and peaceful Afghanistan.
Praise for In the Sea There Are Crocodiles…
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“Extraordinary. . . . A gripping, strangely sweet tale. . . . Reading of Akbari’s efforts to find a better life—alone and at an age when children in our country can’t even drive yet—will leave you shaken, but his resilient joy leavens the story. . . . The lovely rapport between Akbari and Geda comes across now and then when the journalist interrupts to prod him for more detail, gently reminding him just how extraordinary his experience is.”
—The Washington Post
“A remarkable story.”
—The Financial Times
“Chilling. . . . Beautiful. . . . Heart-warming”
—The Times (London)
“A riveting and fast read, one that dips into emotional and physical violence but surfaces in a splash of redemption and humanity and hope. Adult readers will be gripped by the tale, as will young adult readers.”
“Remarkable. . . . Exquisitely rendered and completely free from pride or self-pity. This book will break your heart at the same time that it is lifting your spirit and opening your understanding to a very different kind of life in our very same world.”
—The Daily Herald (London)
“A page-turner that makes you care about its hero from the outset and willingly accompany him on his often perilous journey from Afghanistan to Italy. . . . Salutary and humane, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles, as its international bestseller status indicates, deserves to be read widely by young and older readers alike.”
—The Guardian (London)
“As the reader, you have to wonder what you were doing circa 2005, while Enaiat was traversing the mountains of Turkey. Geda’s frank, unembellished prose captures the voice of a brave boy who never loses hope—and who is lucky to be alive to tell his story.”
“A contemporary look at a world that Americans have become increasingly a part of and from the point of view of persons who usually have no voice. . . . Geda has done a fine job bringing Enaiat alive.”
—The Washington Independent Book Review
“It’s sobering and heart lifting to see the stoical determination and achievement of someone who makes our world look like paradise. This little gem, beautifully and unobtrusively translated, will raise tears of sorrow and joy.”
—The Independent (London)
“Undeniably eye-opening. . . . A small book with a big story to tell. . . . What makes In the Sea There Are Crocodiles so persuasive is the boy’s voice, beautifully captured by Geda.”
“A remarkable, heart-warming story of courage and endurance in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. . . . Truly inspirational”
—The Irish Examiner
“Hair-raising. . . . Unforgettable. . . . An eye-opening account of human endurance, of overcoming the most difficult obstacles—all for freedom and a better life.”
“An authentic, open and marvelous voice of youthful exuberance.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
“A moving and eye-opening chronicle of hardships no child should have to endure, mitigated by intermittent kindnesses.”
—The Sunday Times (London)
“Every so often a book comes along that is an absolute gift to the world. This is one such book.”
—Laura Fitzgerald, author of Dreaming in English and Veil of Roses
“In direct and undecorated prose, Fabio Geda beautifully delivers the human experience of Enaiatollah, a ten-year-old Afghani boy, whose will for survival is more than remarkable. In the Sea There Are Crocodiles will make you laugh and cry, and it will also make you a better person. Everyone should read this book.”
—Marina Nemat, winner of the inaugural Human Dignity Award and author of Prisoner of Tehran