We got to touch and ogle and fondle various new releases and some back catalogue books for the sake of being booky geeks.
One of the titles the RHCB team highlighted was the fantastically titled: In The Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda. We were all very...uhm, this sounds weird, but we were hurriedly assured that ITSTAC is something very special indeed.
Here is the blurb:
One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn’t there. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. His ordeal takes him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of dangerous border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains.I perked up a bit when they told us it was a real life story and that the author had shaped it into this fictional account. Then I read the opening few pages and put it aside. I put it aside because I knew it was going to be what I call a "weekend book": a book to be read in privacy over a weekend, when not wearing make-up. Because of the tears that would no doubt flow. I am such a girl.
A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Italy and meet Fabio, with whom he became friends. The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah’s engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda’s masterful storytelling.
Fans of The Kite Runner will be immediately drawn into this poignant and hugely compelling account of one boy’s life. Despite the hardships and challenges that unfold, Enaiatollah’s journey is an ultimately uplifting and incredibly inspiring search for a place to call home.
These are the two covers for the book. They are releasing it in both "adult" and "kids" editions. I know now already that I prefer the adult's version. It's somehow much more magical. What are your opinions?
|Adult Cover |
The thing is, I really wasn’t expecting her to go. Because when you’re ten years old and getting ready for bed, on a night that’s just like any other night, no darker or starrier or more silent or more full of smells than usual, with the familiar sound of the muezzins calling the faithful to prayer from the tops of the minarets just like anywhere else … no, when you’re ten years old – I say ten, although I’m not entirely sure when I was born, because there’s no registry office or anything like that in Ghazni province – like I said, when you’re ten years old, and your mother, before putting you to bed, takes your head and holds it against her breast for a long time, longer than usual, and says, There are three things you must never do in life, Enaiat jan, for any reason … The first is use drugs. Some of them taste good and smell good and they whisper in your ear that they’ll make you feel better than you could ever feel without them. Don’t believe them. Promise me you won’t do it.
The second is use weapons. Even if someone hurts your feelings or damages your memories, or insults God, the earth or men, promise me you’ll never pick up a gun, or a knife, or a stone, or even the wooden ladle we use for making qhorma palaw, if that ladle can be used to hurt someone. Promise.
The third is cheat or steal. What’s yours belongs to you, what isn’t doesn’t. You can earn the money you need by working, even if the work is hard. You must never cheat anyone, Enaiat jan, all right? You must be hospitable and tolerant to everyone. Promise me you’ll do that.
Anyway, even when your mother says things like that and then, still stroking your neck, looks up at the window and starts talking about dreams, dreams like the moon, which at night is so bright you can see to eat by it, and about wishes – how you must always have a wish in front of your eyes, like a donkey with a carrot, and how it’s in trying to satisfy our wishes that we find the strength to pick ourselves up, and if you hold a wish up high, any wish, just in front of your forehead, then life will always be worth living – well, even when your mother, as she helps you get to sleep, says all these things in a strange, low voice as warming as embers, and fills the silence with words, this woman who’s always been so sharp, so quick-witted in dealing with life … even at a time like that, it doesn’t occur to you that what she’s really saying is, Khoda negahdar, goodbye.
End of Extract
The book will only be released in July but we'll make sure to keep you updated with extracts and other titbits of information as they become available.