The Illegal

The Illegal

by Lawrence Hill
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The Illegal by Lawrence Hill

Finalist for the 2017 NAACP Image Award
Internationally best-selling author Lawrence Hill returns with an extraordinary, resonant novel about a man on the run.Lawrence Hill spellbound readers with Someone Knows My Name (made into the television mini-series, The Book of Negroes), hailed as “transporting” (Entertainment Weekly) and “completely engrossing” (Washington Post). The Illegal is the gripping story of Keita Ali, a refugee—like the many in today’s headlines—compelled to leave his homeland.All Keita has ever wanted to do is to run. Running means respect and wealth at home. His native Zantoroland, a fictionalized country whose tyrants are eerily familiar, turns out the fastest marathoners on earth. But after his journalist father is killed for his outspoken political views, Keita must flee to the wealthy nation of Freedom State—a country engaged in a crackdown on all undocumented people.There, Keita becomes a part of the new underground. He learns what it means to live as an illegal: surfacing to earn cash prizes by running local races and assessing whether the people he meets will be kind or turn him in. As the authorities seek to arrest Keita, he strives to elude capture and ransom his sister, who has been kidnapped.Set in an imagined country bearing a striking resemblance to our own, this tension-filled novel casts its eye on race, human potential, and what it means to belong.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393070590
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 01/25/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 877,426
Product dimensions: 1.30(w) x 9.70(h) x 1.30(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.