I've been getting through lots of books on my round the world reading challenge since the new year and the lockdown has been helping me get through the pile lying by my bedside. I've updated the list on the dedicated page to include the new countries I"ve been to and thought I'd do a bit of a deeper review of some of them over the next while.
A while back I joined a charity book club called ShelterBox. They send a book every 6 weeks or so from a new writer and there have been some very interesting titles in their selections including this one. The donations to the charity help with their work with refugees around the world, particularly now with the coronavirus epidemic hitting so many places that are already in crisis.
So my top book for this year so far has to be The Pianist of Yarmouk
Syria/Palestinian Refugee Camp
The Pianist of Yarmouk by Aeham Ahmad *****
You may remember seeing a picture in the news a few years back of a pianist playing in the middle of the rubble of one of the refugee camps in Damascus. Well that was Aeham Ahmad and this book is his memoir - a truly inspiring story of hope in the most awful of places.
He grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, on the outskirts of Damascus, where Aeham's father, himself a musician, does everything in his power to give his very talented son a musical education. It gives a very intimate account of the actualities of life in these conditions and gives a bitter sweet insight into the life of one of the people we saw walking in those terrible queues of people tyring to get into Europe a few years ago.. Thankfully Aeham survived to tell his story and is playing now in much more salubrious conditions with his family by his side. I would love to meet him and shake his hand.