The Illegal: A Novel

The Illegal: A Novel

by Lawrence Hill


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“A gripping political thriller readers may find hard to put down.”—Dallas Morning News

Keita Ali is an elite runner living in Zantoroland, a poor, fictional island that is erupting in political violence. When his father, a journalist, is murdered, Keita escapes to the wealthy nation of Freedom State—an imagined country much like our own. A stateless refugee without documentation, Keita must hide from the authorities even as he races marathons to support himself and ransom his sister who has been kidnapped. This tension-filled novel by the best-selling author of Someone Knows My Name is an astute exploration of dislocation, starting all over again, and the desperate need for home and community.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393353686
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/31/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 576,961
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lawrence Hill is the author of several novels including Someone Knows My Name, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was nominated in the United States for the Huston Wright Legacy Award. In 2015 Hill was appointed to the Order of Canada “for his contributions as an author and activist who tells the stories of Canada’s black community and of women and girls in Africa.” A graduate of the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he lives in Ontario, Canada.

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The Illegal 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored The Book of Negroes so I was very excited to get my hands on the The Illegal. This was one of those books that I savored slowly, reading a bit each day and really getting into Keita Ali’s world. I liked this book a lot but for me it didn’t capture me like The Book of Negroes did. What I liked best about The Illegal was Hill’s character development. The novel is told not just from Keita’s point of view but from the view point of a variety of rich and well developed characters, each with their own interest in the politics of Freedom State and Zantoroland. Hill does a fantastic job of letting the reader see the story through the eyes of a multitude of characters: an elderly white woman facing ageism, a 15-year old mixed blood documentary filmmaker, a black paraplegic lesbian reporter, a middle aged businessman who finds himself thrown into the world of politics and, of course, Keita, the protagonist of the story. I think setting was a bit of an issue for me with The Illegal, which is odd because I do write and love both fantasy and dystopian genres. But the setting of the novel in the not so distant future and in the imaginary countries of Freedom State and Zantoroland, weakened my engagement with the book. I felt that it would have had much more impact on me if it had been written in a real world setting. Having said that, the issues that Hill addresses in this novel are important and complex. Stigma and alienation are major motifs in this work. Characters are cast out from society based on age, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and social position. The issues that Hill addresses in The Illegal are very real in our world today. Without giving any spoilers away, I will say that the conclusion of the novel was disappointing to me. I felt that Hill wrapped things up a bit too quickly and too neatly to satisfy my need for realism. I don’t like to compare an artist’s work because each piece is really different from the others, but after anticipating something equal to A Book of Negroes, I finished The Illegal feeling a bit let down. A futuristic, fantasy novel that addresses so many issues that affect our society today, The Illegal is definitely worth a read.