CBR15Passport book set in and author from another country (from Syria, living in Turkey, trying to get to Greece and France)I was going to wait until I read volume three of Hakim’s Odyssey by French author Fabien Toulme (translation by Hannah Chute) before writing the review of Volume Two: From Turkey to Greece but was not sure when that would happen. And besides, Hakim’s Odyssey fills each book with enough so you do not have to know about three, you will just go to the next in line.
Hakim’s Odyssey: Book 1: From Syria to Turkey shows us the person Hakim (not his real name to protect himself and family) in the war-torn country of Syria where he must escape or be imprisoned, killed or worse. The realism of this is done in a way we have not really seen (or at least I have not) in other books. When in Turkey (where life is no better) Hakim marries a woman, who has their first child, and they try to survive. And the second book, Hakim’s Odyssey: Book 2: From Turkey to Greece, continues this story of the end of his time during the struggle to find work in Turkey (not always on the up-and-up) and his wife and her family leaving Turkey for France. But Hakim and their son is not allowed. There are months of paperwork (much more than the few months the originally figured), a Syrian lawyer, more not so-up-and-up jobs, and finally their hope of Hakim and his son joining his wife and her family is there, until it is not. And the only option he feels is left to him is hiring a smuggler to get him to Greece.
Now we follow Hakim as he tries to make enough money, feed his son, work, and finally “interview” the right smuggler. Money exchanging is complicated, rules even more so and people take advantage of the refuges and their despair, yet there are people one can still trust. We follow Hakim on the raft sent out with other refuges, the driver of his saying he had “four hours to learn how to drive it,” and the horrible events that almost mean their deaths. We end this chapter of the journey with him finally entering Greece, obtaining a visa that allows him to stay for a few weeks, and in the meantime, he needs to find way to France.
The cover gives you the illustrations look. Most things are sparse, even when dealing with the city or a crowded beach. Your eye then focuses on the voice of Hakim. A couple breaks in the action flash to “now” (2017) and Hakim telling his story directly to Toulme.