In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari
by Fabio Geda, translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis
Doubleday, 2011. 213 pgs. Fiction.
Like Schindler's List, In The Sea There are Crocodiles is technically a novel but tells, with an exquisite grace, the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari, an Afghan refugee whose mother took him to Pakistan and left him when he was ten years old because he was getting to big to hide from the Taliban. Enaiat immediately shows extraordinary resilience and resourcefulness in making his own way from working for food and a place to sleep to earning enough money to pay traffickers to take him to Iran, then to Turkey, after which he made his own way to Greece and to Italy. Geda's italicized conversations with Enaiat are plain spoken and matter-of-fact, stunningly understated given the circumstances of his life. During the course of the narrative we come to quickly care very much for Enaiat and his companions, to grieve for those who are lost, and to feel profound gratitude for the strangers who show him kindness and help him along his way. In The Sea There are Crocodiles is a beautiful, memorable book which not only opens a door into another world, but into a remarkable life.