Every now and then, a quiet, little book comes along that really grabs the attention of readers. The voice and tone of a book like this requires your full concentration - as though an old storyteller were sitting in the room with you... you lean in, just a little closer, listening carefully so as to not miss a single word of his tale. In the Sea There Are Crocodiles
, the first work of Italian author Fabio Geda to be translated into English, is just such a tale. Our narrator, Enaiatollah Akbari, is quiet and calm, but his words, his story, are anything but serene.
Geda met Enaiatollah several years ago and knew he wanted to help the young man tell his story. The prologue tells us right away that this book is a little bit different. While being marketed by the publisher as a work of fiction, the 'novel' is based on a true story. Geda states, "...this book must be...
Beyond the Book
The Hazara people - a long-persecuted and long-suffering population - are an Iranian ethnic group living in central Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. First mention of the Hazara is believed to have occurred in the late 16th century when the term was used to describe the people of the geographic location bordered by Kabul, Ghor, and Gazhni, in the central and mountainous regions of Afghanistan. (See dark green area on map below.)
As noted in In the Sea There Are Crocodiles (and, coincidentally, in Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner), the Hazara are a...