The Boat People by Sharon Bala
A Novel

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...compared to nuanced recent literature set amid Sri Lankan strife—On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman or The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam—this is thin fare. A strong premise runs aground trying to form a set of convictions into a novel.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Sharon Bala

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Published January 9, 2018 by Doubleday. 353 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Boat People
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Below average
on Oct 16 2017

...compared to nuanced recent literature set amid Sri Lankan strife—On Sal Mal Lane by Ru Freeman or The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam—this is thin fare. A strong premise runs aground trying to form a set of convictions into a novel.

Read Full Review of The Boat People: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Robert Wiersema on Jan 19 2018

It may not be a perfect book, but The Boat People is a book perfect for our times, essential reading to bring context to questions which we are, perhaps, more inclined to ignore.

Read Full Review of The Boat People: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

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