Keita is such a nice guy that he’s a bit one-dimensional. Lack of depth keeps The Illegal from becoming a stellar novel. It is a feel-good novel, which makes it predictable and unsurprising. Still, there’s nothing wrong with feeling good now and then.The Illegal left me with a warm feeling about several of its characters. That is enough motivation for me to recommend the novel.
Reading this book gave me a lot of insight into refugees are chased from their countries and how they end up becoming an illegal immigrant. Also it makes you think about what illegal immigrants really go through. No one really takes time to listen to them and understand what is happening in their countries. For example with the Syrian refugees not everyone was on board with them coming to Canada and its probably because people didn't know about what was going on in Syria or they just didn't want to listen and understand. Reading this book really makes you think.
The story is justly sympathetic to individuals who are in desperate situations while recognizing that decent people can oppose illegal immigration without joining the rude or racist contingent that makes political debate so ugly. The novel represents various points of view fairly and honestly, although it does not disguise the ugliness of opinions that are motivated by hatred or racism.
That said, not every person in Freedom State is horrible, not even every white person. There’s a politically liberal 85-year-old who tries to help Keita. And there’s the hapless immigration minister, Calder, whose party has come to power as a result of the “Deport the Illegals” movement, but whose heart really isn’t in the job. When the denouement finally arrives and the prime minister explains his dastardly plan, it is Calder who provides the obligatory response: “It will never work,” he says. The reader is inclined to agree.
Keita is in hiding because he has no papers. When he enters his first race he therefore uses an alias. Unfortunately, he chooses “Roger Bannister,” which draws immediate attention. (He has a “d’oh!” moment, when he realizes his error: “Just a few weeks in the country and he’d already been photographed and named in a newspaper.”) Soon, Keita is running to — literally — save a life. There are nefarious happenings aplenty, involving a violent sports agent, a woman who runs a brothel and AfricTown (the black shantytown), a prime minister who is evil incarnate, and a schoolboy who films everything by hiding in various closets.
John, “blacker than white but whiter than black,” is a smart teen making a documentary about the fate of Zantorolanders in Freedom State. Dubbed “latté boy, cookies ’n’ cream,” John learns that he, too, must fight for his identity – even at home – in order to “out-black the blacks.”
In Freedom State, Keita’s path intersects with Viola Hill and John Falconer, both of whom are keenly interested in his story. Viola, a sportswriter whose ambition is to cover hard news, injects vigour, edge, and a wry humour to any scene she is a part of. She dubs herself “blagaybulled” – black, gay, disabled – but she is also proud. Strong and fast in her wheelchair, with “abs of steel, biceps like guns,” she is an athlete and former runner.
Keita Ali is 15 when the novel gets rolling and in his twenties when most of the story takes place. His father, a freelance journalist, is treated as an enemy of the state. Keita is clearly fated for death. He cannot get help from his sister in the United States because she seems to have disappeared.
Keita is a promising marathon runner. After gaining the opportunity to train in Freedom State, Keita decides to go into hiding, knowing that his return to Zantoroland would eventually cost him his life. Soon he finds himself running, literally and figuratively, in order to save himself and his sister.
The Illegal by Lawrence Hill so far is a very interesting book. I have only gone up to chapter 2 but I can't wait to keep reading the book. In the book so far the president of Zantoroland has been killed and there is a new government. Keita's mother is dead and his father has traveled out of the country with no way of getting back due to closed airports. The suspense of what caused his mother's death whether or not his father will return is killing me. Stay tuned for more posts to find out what happens next. I give the book a 4 star rating so far.
Zantoroland is an island in the Indian Ocean. It was colonized by a succession of European nations that imported African slaves. The population, largely black, is divided into two primary ethnic groups. The majority group, currently in power, is oppressing (and often murdering) the minority population
Keita is the main character of the novel The Illegal. In the book so far from what I read in the prologue and chapters 1&2 Keita is a courageous person. He doesn't back down when trouble is on his way and he makes sure he can help in anyway possible. His dream is to be in the Olympics for running and everyday he works hard to get a little bit closer to his goal, so I can tell he is very determined and goal-orientated.