THE BOY FROM ALEPPO WHO PAINTED THE WAR by Sumia Sukkar
THE BOY FROM ALEPPO WHO PAINTED THE WAR
Adam, the hero and narrator of Sumia Sukkar’s debut novel, is a precocious Syrian boy of 14 with Asperger’s syndrome who visualises moods in colour and paints his terrifying experiences during a war he cannot comprehend. Instead of identifying and politicising the authors of the brutality that he and his relatives suffer, he sees only incomprehensible violence that decimates his family, reduces his home and neighbourhood to rubble and divides his once handsome city to warring enclaves. While exhibiting common Asperger traits – fear of leaving home, rejection of others’ touch, and crouching and rocking when uncertain – Adam overcomes them during his awakening ordeal in a city populated by gunmen who leave walls splashed with blood and streets strewn with dead. Forced out of his protective shell, a toughened but still innocent Adam collects blood to paint blood, pockets a victim’s ear that he finds beautiful, and adopts a stray cat he calls Licorice. The author, a British woman of Syrian and Algerian origin, has used Adam’s collage of horror stories to write a tour de force true to a terrible war. (This her first book – she is in her twenties).
At once funny, and moving, this powerful story is sure to become a beloved classic, as it follows in the footsteps of other novels touching on the lives of young people during war, such as THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS and THE KITE RUNNER.
From the Back Cover
Adam is a 14-year-old boy with Asperger Syndrome trying to understand the Syrian conflict and its effect on his life, so he paints his feelings. Yasmine, his beautiful older sister devotes herself to Adam, sacrificing her true happiness as she tries to protect the ones she loves. But Yasmine herself has to cope with her own traumas when she is taken by soldiers. Their three brothers, too, struggle – on whether or not to take sides, and the consequences of their choices.
About Asperger Syndrome
Asperger’s syndrome, also called Asperger’s disorder, is a type ofpervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination. There is a spectrum within the PDD disorders.
Although Asperger’s syndrome is similar in some ways to autism — another, more severe type of PDD — there are some important differences. Children with Asperger’s syndrome typically function better than do those with autism. In addition, children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have normal intelligence and near-normallanguage development, although they may develop problems communicating as they get older.
Asperger’s syndrome was named for the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger, who first described the disorder in 1944. However, Asperger’s syndrome was not recognized as a unique disorder until much later.
What Are the Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome?
The symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome vary and can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
- Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations. They generally do not make friends easily. They have difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation.
- Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
- Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
- Communication difficulties: People with Asperger’s syndrome may not make eye contact when speaking with someone. They may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context and are very literal in their use of language.
- Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
- Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
- Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math
Aleppo Asperger’s Book