by Sharon Bala - £12.99 Alfred A. Knopf (2018)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780385544023 | ISBN 10: 0385544022
Globe and Mail bestseller, The Boat People is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism.
When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks — and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada’s national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son’s chance for asylum.
Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian who reluctantly represents the refugees; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate as evidence mounts against him, The Boat People is a spellbinding and timely novel that provokes a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis.
(Price & availability last checked: April 2018)
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In booklists: Fiction and Poetry: Immigration, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Writers By Surname - B, World Fiction - Sri Lanka, World Fiction - Canada, Political Fiction, In categories: Fiction, Anti-Racism, Poetry & Writing, World - Asia, World - North America, Politics & Philosophy,