A devastating tragedy about two unlikely people smugglers.
On a whim, two young women make a hastily planned trip to Morocco. Born in Holland, yet of African parentage, Thouraya and Ilham feel perennially dislocated, belonging nowhere. They hire a car, take up with the streetwise Saleh and find themselves visiting a slum. Saleh wants the girls to see the real Morocco. They are taken to a makeshift home and meet a desperately poor family. The mother wants Thouraya and Ilham to smuggle her teenage son, Murat, in the boot of their car to Europe where there is economic opportunity. Saleh assures the girls it will be easy. Murat only has to survive the two hour ferry trip across the Strait of Gibaltar to Spain. The girls reluctantly agree but soon realise it's a terrible decision. They are swiftly plunged into an inescapable nightmare.
Dutch writer Tommy Wieringa has written a taut, elegant thriller that addresses issues of race, identity, refugees, third world poverty and first world entitlement. We want Murat to succeed, to lift his family out of its unrelentingly miserable situation, yet the risks are intolerable. Uncomfortable moral problems are raised in this ultimately tragic story about two accidental people smugglers and their ill-fated human cargo. Harrowing and shocking, The Death of Murat Idrissi will burn in your memory.
The Death of Murat Idrissi, by Tommy Wieringa. Published by Scribe. RRP: $29.99
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books