About “Wenn Fish get thirsty” - Halim Youssef

About “Wenn Fish get thirsty”

June 25, 2021

If you would look at a map of the world and search for the country in which this story takes place you will not find a country named Kurdistan. Matter of fact is that this country is known as the area between the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. The people that live in the area have created their own names for it, for example the main character of the story Fish lives below the border also know as Syria, and his love interest Berfin is from above the border also know as Turkey. We get to follow Fish’s story as he crosses the steal fences also knows as the border between Turkey and Syria for the sake of love and hear stories from both sides of the border.

It has to be said that this book is not written in Arabic nor in Turkish, which are both the native languages of the two countries, but instead written in the language that has been forbidden to use in Syria and Turkey. It has been written in the language of the people that do not have a country, and that is Kurdish.

Because of the previously stated issues there have been intense battles between the Kurdish freedom fighters and the Turkish army during the past 30 years. In more recent events Fish’s freedom fighters have been the main defense line against the Islamic state “ISIS”. Fish’s love for a girl becomes the reason for him joining the freedom fighters battle and as the story progresses we get to see how his life story unfolds.

The answers to what happens and how Fish becomes the common thread that ties all the story lines together can all be found in this novel.


For as long as I live I will never forget Helim Yusiv’s Fish. This fact is a true testament to the great work of the author.  In the same way that I can’t forget about Dostoyevsky’s “ Prince Myshkin and Raskolinkov” or Rulfo’s “Juan Preciado” or Herman Melville’s “Ahab” or Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Jose Arcadio Buendia û Florentino Aretha”  Fish will stay in my mind like a strong vibrant character forever.

Ehmed Huseyni

When I first received this novel and started reading it,  it became like a marathon that I wanted to run trough without stopping so that I could find out what was waiting at the finish line.

Newaf Miro

I am not going to hide my feelings; I really fell in love with the book! I really loved the way the novel was written. I loved the story telling of the not living part of the story, I loved allegory of the “steal door”, the irony of the “destiny’s hat”, the continuation of the story and without doubt I loved Fish and his thirst. There is no doubt in my feelings towards the novel. About Helim Yusiv, he is undoubtedly a great novelist in the Kurdish language.

Ali Fikri Ishik