Refugees dont just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance behind them and their misery to wake to a better day.
-Nadia Hashimi, When the moon is low.
This was a mesmerising and a difficult book to read and review. Very thought provoking, it had me well up many times. A very powerful read about refugees escaping their homelands and trying to hold on to hope for a better life.
This book is about Nuri and Afra, who are gentle and content folk who live in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo. Nuri, in partnership with his cousin Mustafa, runs a thriving bee harvesting business, until the day Aleppo burns and some vandals set fire to their hives. The war becomes deadly, Aleppo burns and children are killed mercilessly in the bombings. Afra becomes blind witnessing these catastrophic events. Forced to leave, they set out on the refugee route in Europe, travelling through Turkey to Greece and then finally to the United Kingdom.
This is an important read and a painful testimony to the times we live in. We cannot imagine what the people go through, and I tried to place myself in Nuri and Afra’s shoes and I got goosebumps all over and it made me cry many times. I also admired how it wasn’t sugarcoated and presented the stark reality as it is. The story seemed very legitimate and its everything a book on refugees and the turmoils they go through should be. This book filled the void that Sea prayer left in me. Lefteri has done a brilliant job in writing this brilliant and moving story about people who are escaping the nightmare that is the Syrian war and has humanised the pain and unrest. Not only has she given powerful voices to the narrators, she also presented a first hand account of the misery and mental trauma the refugees go through, and it was very different from what we read in newspapers and websites. It opened my eyes to the extremely caliginous reality of war. This story was also heavily influenced by the volunteer work Lefteri did in Athens for refugees.
After reading, I often felt we whine and complain for no reason. We are never content with what we have and books like these help in making us feel grounded.
Highly recommended. We cannot turn our heads away on these matters and we should be aware of what is happening in the world. Thank you Harper Collins India for sending me a copy to review. Picture and opinons are my own.
You can get a copy for yourselves here