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The Illegal: A Novel (2015)

de Lawrence Hill

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
3442259,902 (3.62)42
Keita Ali is on the run. He is desperate to flee Zantoroland, a mountainous black island that produces the fastest marathoners in the world. Keita signs on with notorious marathon agent Anton Hamm, who provides Keita with a chance to run the Boston marathon in return for a huge cut of the winning purse. But when Keita fails to place among the top finishers, rather than being sent back to his own country, he goes into hiding in Freedom State a wealthy nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown. Keita can be safe only if he keeps moving and eludes Hamm and the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he will face almost certain death. This is the new underground. A place where tens of thousands of people deemed to be illegal live below the radar of the police and government officials. As Keita surfaces from time to time to earn cash prizes by running local road races, he has to assess whether the people he meets are friends or enemies: John Falconer, a gifted student intent on making a documentary about AfricTown; Ivernia Beech, an elderly woman who is at risk of being forced into an assisted living facility; Rocco Stanton, a recreational marathoner who is the Immigration Minister; Lula DiStefano, self-declared Queen of AfricTown and Madame of the community s infamous brothel; and Viola Hill, one of the only black reporters in the country, who is investigating the possibility of corruption linking the highest officials in Freedom State and Zantoroland. Keita s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but his sister s life, too. Fast-moving and compelling, The Illegal is a literary thriller that addresses the fate of undocumented refugees who struggle to survive in nations that do not want them.… (més)
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» Mira també 42 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 22 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Disappointing. I had really enjoyed reading a previous book by this author (The Book of Negroes) and looked forward to reading this one, hoping for a similar type of storytelling, fiction based on real world events and for the book to be written from a Canadian perspective. Given that Hill chose to write a novel about an illegal immigrant at a time when immigrants to Canada were very much a part of public discussion, I had thought that this book would tell a story about being a refugee in Canada, I thought it would be well researched and insightful with strong characters. Based on the last book I read by Hill, I thought this book would have a lot more than it actually did.

Instead of writing about a refugee in Canada, Hill instead chose to create a fictional homeland and then have the character immigrate to another fictional country. This gave him the freedom to make up any story he wanted, without doing any research or work to weave a story around the real world. The end result was that the story seemed gutless and weak, and that ignored the rich background of Canadian culture and it's relationship with immigration. There are some Canadian easter eggs thrown in, some street names that Canadians will know (even though they are in "Freedomland") and the characters go on a date to "Tim's" which involved too much explanation of what a Tim Horton's was. This all just seemed like silly pandering.

And so we have a story about an athlete in one country who flees to another country, lots of descriptions of him running in marathons and his aches and pains, and the people he meets who live in a small world and somehow all intertwine by convenient and coincidental meetings. The characters are all boring as hell and each fits into a stereotype (the black lesbian in a wheelchair, little old lady who still has her wits but son wants to put her in a home, the brothel owner with a heart of gold, the corrupt politician....). There's a bit of a political corruption subplot (or is that the main plot?) and it all comes together tidily in the end. Overall, just a very tedious read and I'm actually surprised that I finished it. ( )
  northwestknitter | Mar 28, 2021 |
I wanted to like this book as there are few good books that involve long-distance running and runners, but I just couldn't quite get there. I suppose I don't know enough about this world to fully understand what all was happening here. So, not a bad read, just not a really good one.... ( )
  ChetBowers | Mar 10, 2021 |
An interesting and topical read, with some strong female characters and good world-building. The parts about running came across as very authentic. Hill created a sense of tension and suspense, with a satisfying conclusion.

For me, the pace seemed to pick up after the first four chapters. ( )
  LisaTimpf | Sep 23, 2020 |
When Keita’s father is murdered, he flees his country to neighbouring Freedom State, where he is considered an “illegal”. Keita is a (very gifted) runner, so he continues to train and enter marathons. When he hears his sister has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom, the stakes on winning those marathons (and the money) are so much higher.

There is a bit more to this, with secondary characters (a lesbian journalist in a wheelchair, a young prostitute “illegal” sent home and murdered, the madame of the brothel, some high level political figures, a teenaged talented documentary maker).

Overall, I’d rate it ok. I’m not sure if it would be of more interest to people who enjoy sports, with all the running, or maybe to people who enjoy political fiction. Sometimes political stuff is of more interest to me, but I think it depends on how it’s done. I listened to the audio, and the narrator was fine, nothing special, but didn’t detract, either, I didn’t think. The story itself was fine. ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 31, 2019 |
I would call this Lawrence Hill "lite". My first Hill read,[b:The Book of Negroes|23316548|The Book of Negroes|Lawrence Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1417983381s/23316548.jpg|860779], titled [b:Someone Knows My Name|875441|Someone Knows My Name|Lawrence Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348403987s/875441.jpg|860779] in the USA, was a masterpiece, and I also loved [b:Any Known Blood|1887035|Any Known Blood|Lawrence Hill|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1189786624s/1887035.jpg|1888281]. This book takes very topical issues and somehow uses them as plot points in an easily digested novel. This can be a bit disconcerting at times, but it serves the characters and the issues to have a novel that is not always depressing and hopeless. For every "bad guy" there is a hero, and then there are characters who fall somewhere in between.

The novel reads quickly, and yet as I read I found myself thinking about the different points of view regarding illegal (and legal) immigration issues in both the USA and Canada. In this instance our hero is an upstanding character who has much to offer to any country. He is fleeing persecution and probably death. He is a bit too angelic, and very likable. The author does not shy away from the dark side of the issues, not every immigrant is so upstanding, then again the same is true for the legal residents as well.

I think this book succeeds because it is such an easy read, not every book undertaking difficult issues has to be a chore - this book raises many interesting issues and would be great for book clubs! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 22 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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Keita Ali is on the run. He is desperate to flee Zantoroland, a mountainous black island that produces the fastest marathoners in the world. Keita signs on with notorious marathon agent Anton Hamm, who provides Keita with a chance to run the Boston marathon in return for a huge cut of the winning purse. But when Keita fails to place among the top finishers, rather than being sent back to his own country, he goes into hiding in Freedom State a wealthy nation that has elected a government bent on deporting the refugees living within its borders in the community of AfricTown. Keita can be safe only if he keeps moving and eludes Hamm and the officials who would deport him to his own country, where he will face almost certain death. This is the new underground. A place where tens of thousands of people deemed to be illegal live below the radar of the police and government officials. As Keita surfaces from time to time to earn cash prizes by running local road races, he has to assess whether the people he meets are friends or enemies: John Falconer, a gifted student intent on making a documentary about AfricTown; Ivernia Beech, an elderly woman who is at risk of being forced into an assisted living facility; Rocco Stanton, a recreational marathoner who is the Immigration Minister; Lula DiStefano, self-declared Queen of AfricTown and Madame of the community s infamous brothel; and Viola Hill, one of the only black reporters in the country, who is investigating the possibility of corruption linking the highest officials in Freedom State and Zantoroland. Keita s very existence in Freedom State is illegal. As he trains in secret, eluding capture, the stakes keep getting higher. Soon, he is running not only for his life, but his sister s life, too. Fast-moving and compelling, The Illegal is a literary thriller that addresses the fate of undocumented refugees who struggle to survive in nations that do not want them.

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