I read and reviewed ‘The Bodies That Move’ for Rosie’s Book Review Team.
“But what other options are available to you when you’re stuck in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea in a tiny dinghy other than to reflect on your life and how the decisions you made brought you there?”
The Bodies That Move tells the riveting story of a man who embarks on a journey in search of greener pastures.
Abandoned by his father as a child, Nosa is forced to bear the responsibility of caring for his mother and siblings. Seeing no future in Nigeria, he is persuaded by an old schoolmate to migrate to Europe. In order to achieve this, he employs the services of smugglers.
His journey takes him through many transit cities, safe houses and detention camps in Nigeria, Niger and war-torn Libya, and sees him cross the Sahara Desert. On his journey, he meets other travellers, each with unique stories. They are all united, however, by the desire for a better life in Europe.
This is a powerful and moving story of a young man who wants so much to improve his life, to provide for his family, to be safe and happy – the basic things that we all want.
For Nosa there isn’t a way to do this if he stays in Nigeria. Although intelligent, well‑qualified, and ambitious, he can’t get a job because he doesn’t know the right people. He has no future in Nigeria, so he has no choice but to try and make a future elsewhere, even if that means risking his life.
His journey is horrifying, the things he sees and experiences terrible. Women raped, men beaten, people left to die. Exploited, abused, treated like nothing, these people are desperate.
It’s a sobering story. And one that needs to be shared. It’s all too easy, from your sofa, or behind your keyboard, to judge refugees and asylum seekers. But it could just as easily be you or me, had we been born somewhere else, in different circumstances.
The author tells Nosa’s story unflinchingly, without sentiment, and the result is a really well-written, and important novel.