In The Sea There Are Crocodiles: The Story Of Enaiatollah Akbari. Fabio Geda/ Harvill Secker, £10.99.
READERS are encouraged, by the author, to consider this biography of a young Afghan boy as a work of fiction.
However, as Fabio Geda recounts Enaiatollah Akbari’s experience of fleeing Afghanistan from the boy’s point of view, it’s hard to forget it’s based on a true tale.
Enaiatollah’s mother dispenses wise advice to her son before leaving him over the border in Pakistan in the hope he can find a better life.
Geda’s story traces the young boy’s steps as he makes his way to what he hopes is a life of freedom in Italy.
It is not often that we get to learn of the personal stories of refugees and that makes this book feel very special.
Enaiatollah’s resilience and the matter-of-fact way in which he views the world are admirable.
The snippets of conversation that appear between the author and the boy, however, feel condescending towards Enaiatollah, unnecessary, and an unwelcome distraction from the otherwise beautiful prose.