Author(s): Edoardo Albinati
Winner of the prestigious John Florio Prize for Italian Translation; A solid contribution to a rising genre: the noncombatant's war memoir - Kirkus Review; First time that we see the war through the eyes of a novelist and a poet; Royalties to be donated to a charity providing housing for refugees in the highlands of Afghanistan March 2002: the repatriation of Afghan refugees begins. It is one of the largest migrations in history, an exodus of biblical proportions, yet this time people are not fleeing, but returning to their own country, where they find demolished houses, mined fields and no water supplies. Edoardo Albinati spent four months in Afghanistan working in the UNHCR centres where the tide of returnees was at its peak. He travelled around the cities of Kabul, Kandahar, the deserts and the rural areas in search of solutions for the reintegration of the refugees. This book - written with the zest of a diarist and peopled by a myriad unforgettable faces and stories - is the daily account of what he saw, heard and did (or tried to do) while hundreds of thousands of people struggling for survival rolled past in overcrowded trucks.
It is the critical, impassioned testimony of a gigantic collective effort whose outcome is still highly uncertain.
"'I could have gone to Afghanistan as some kind of journalist and just written about it. I immediately dismissed the idea, it didn't interest me that much. Even the decision to write this book only came about towards the end of my mission, when it occurred to me that it might be interesting for a reader to have a non-ideological, non-journalistic account of the humanitarian aid effort and the refugee emergency. The diary of an ordinary man, the testimony of someone who tells you a story not because he went specially to observe it from a particular viewpoint, but because it really happened to him. I was always very clear about one thing: that the book was a continuation of the mission, extending it into what I know best, which is writing.' - Edoardo Albinati"
Edoardo Albinati was born in Rome in 1956. The author of many novels and collections of poetry, he is regarded as one of the most original voices in contemporary Italian fiction. Since 1994 he has been teaching at Rebibbia prison in Rome. His most recent books include Maggio Selvaggio (Wild May) and 19. The UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) was established in 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.