The extraordinary journey of the Fakir who got trapped in an Ikea wardrobe by Romain Puertolas
Original title – L’extraordinaire voyage du fakir qui étaitrestécoincé dans unearmoireIkea
Translator Sam Taylor
Source – review copy
The island it is silent now
But the ghosts still haunt the waves
And the torch lights up a famished man
Who fortune could not save
Did you work upon the railroad
Did you rid the streets of crime
Were your dollars from the white house
Were they from the five and dime
Thousand are sailing lyrics by the Pogues ,like Aja many Irish people tried to find a better life .
Now this book must win the title for the longest and funniest title this year .Sam taylor is fast become the big French title translator here is another book that is one of those rare books that can break across the divide of being translated and a best seller at the same time .Romain Puertolas has been many things in many places a dj ,singer-songwriter ,steward and just prior to this book as a police inspector with the French border services ,checking for fake documents .he has live in France ,Spain and here in the UK .I imagine that last Job Romain did inspired this book .
Ajatashatru was famous throughout Rajasthan for swallowing retractable swords , eating broken glass made from zero-calorie sugar ,stabbing his arms with fake needles ,and a heap of other conjuring tricks,the secrets of which were only known to him and his cousins ,and which he was happy to label magical powers in order to bewitch the masses
Aja knows all the tricks but does he ?
Now the book follows Ajatashartu Oghash Rathod (Aja from here on )a street Fakir (a street magician con man in India ) ,who has seen in an old Ikea catalogue a bed of nails for sail ,he finds the is a store in Paris so sets off to Paris to buy and bring back a bed of nails for him and his friends with just his wits and a poorly counterfeit 100 euro note on a piece of string .Any way he finally arrives at the store to find out the price he had seen was just an offer from a long time ago ,but while trying to decide what to do Aja ends up in a wardrobe and then finds himself in the UK where he is held as an illegal immigrate and is deported to spain ,then he ends up in Italy ,Libya and finally back in france .Along the way he meets officials that don’t like him is mistaken for an artist ,sells a hand written shirt comes into a lot of money and finally decides on a new path in life .
They had abandoned everything to go to a country where they believed they would be able to work and earn money .That was all they asked : to find some honest work so they could send money to their familes ,to their people ,so that their children no longer had those big ,heavy bellies like basketballs
Aja in Great britain ,how many times we hear these words ,isn’t that what we all want a better life ?
Now this book is very funny at times Aja is a hapless chap that seems to stumble from one disaster to the next almost an Indian mr Bean ,although he is a con man he is a loveable character just trying to get a bed of nails or even a better life for himself .But there is another side to the book a more serious side and that is what is in the background as we see Aja trip around Europe and North africa and that is the journey many people take to try to find themselves a better life in Western europe although Aja story is fable like ,how many others isn’t ! I enjoyed this one I manage to read it in a night and actually laughed out loud in a few places a perfect summer read light not too taxing ,but with actually a thought-provoking story behind it .We also see how immigrants are treated around western Europe with the rise of parties like UKIP and people falling for fascist sites like Britain first maybe we need to read a book like this and think about others from outside our cosy shores ! The book is also being made into a film .
Have you read this book ?