My Fourth Time, We Drowned
by Sally Hayden
***🏆 A Five Books Book of the Year ***
***Winner of the 2022 Orwell Prize for Political Writing***
Recommendations from our site
“The subtitle is ‘seeking refuge on the world’s deadliest migration route’—that being the route from North Africa, across the Mediterranean, to Europe. All the books on the shortlist have a topicality and the ways in which they are topical are very varied and interesting. This is a book about events that are unfolding right now, as we’re speaking. We know they’re happening, but somehow we manage to push them away and not think about them. But migration is one of the huge issues of our time and this book really makes you feel it.” Read more...
The Best Nonfiction Books: The 2022 Baillie Gifford Prize Shortlist
Caroline Sanderson, Journalist
“Probably the most important and touching book I’ve read this year is My Fourth Time, We Drowned by Irish journalist Sally Hayden. This is the story of refugees trying to get from countries in Africa to Europe, and what they go through. It’s horrific and nobody comes out looking good, least of all us citizens of Europe, who have allowed terrible things to go on in our name.” Read more...
Notable Nonfiction of Spring 2022
Sophie Roell, Journalist
“My Fourth Time, We Drowned is another extraordinary investigation of a topic which people want to keep hidden, in this case the reality of the lives of migrants trying to get into Europe across the Mediterranean who have travelled there from many parts. It tells the story of extraordinary suffering that families go through to send family members to Europe, and of the migrants themselves, at the hands of traffickers, of militias and, indeed, indirectly, at the hands of international organizations that haven’t cared as much as they should have about their well-being.
What is especially rich about the book is that the migrants themselves speak not after the fact, but during their ordeals. So, although they are very much out of sight when it comes to television and the usual forms of journalism, the individual stories are told through often secret exchanges on social media. And they’re told extraordinarily compellingly.
The book is a critique of the EU and the UN for their policies, for keeping these migrants out, and their systematic indifference to their suffering. It’s very much—as many of these books are—a book for our time.”