THE NAKED DON’T FEAR THE WATER
‘This is a book of radical empathy, crossing many borders – not just borders that separate nations, but also borders of form, borders of meaning, and borders of possibility. It is powerful and humane and deserves to find a wide, wandering readership.’ — Mohsin Hamid, author of Exit West
We were delighted to host a talk with Matthieu Aikins who talked to us about his debut novel, The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees. In this book, Matthieu, an award-winning journalist living in Kabul, leaves his own passport and identity behind to go underground on the refugee trail with his friend Omar, a young Afghan driver and translator, who makes the heart-wrenching choice to flee his war-torn country. Their odyssey across land and sea from Afghanistan to Europe brings them face to face with the people at heart of the migration crisis: smugglers, cops, activists, and the men, women and children fleeing war in search of a better life.
“When he cups a child’s head while their boat flails through riotous waves, when he dances with new friends at an unlikely haven in Athens, when he shares a sandwich with a man who is more brother than friend, Aikins ... experiences the kind of equality that politicians, advocates and religious leaders tout but rarely achieve... This book is Aikins’s profound act of love — for Omar, for their travel companions and for the beleaguered people of Afghanistan, now irrevocably scattered around the world." — Jessica Goudou, New York Times” - Jessica Goudeau, The New York Times
Matthieu Aikins is a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine who has reported on Afghanistan since 2008. His new book is The Naked Don’t Fear the Water: An Underground Journey with Afghan Refugees, published by Fitzcarraldo Editions, is now available on ISHKAR. Get your copy here.
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