Tag Archives: Illegal Immigration

Review: Exit West

Exit West

Exit West
By Moshin Hamid
Riverhead Books, 9780735212206, February 2018, 256pp.

The Short of It:

Not at all what I was expecting.

The Rest of It:

When my book club selected this book several months ago at our yearly selection meeting, I was eager to read it because of all the reviews I had read but I skimmed those reviews because I didn’t want to know too much about it.

Well, I have to tell you that the story is very unique. In an unnamed, war-torn country, two people meet. Nadia is more head-strong and determined and Saeed is more soft-spoken and sincere but the two marry and find themselves transported to other countries as they try to escape the current war zone they are in. They move from country to country by going through doors, sometimes guarded, sometimes not.

It took me a little while to realize that they were actually going from country to country by these doors. Yes, it’s very “Narnia” and to be honest, I didn’t love this fantastical element. However, after discussing it with the group, I do understand the author’s choice to use it as a means to convey their immediate situation. It would be difficult to enter into a country and not know the language or to be hated, instantly, upon your arrival. Open the door, step through and immediately find yourselves in an uncomfortable situation.

Given the current state of the country I live in, I feel that the author did a good job of raising our awareness without shoving it down our throats. It hit all of us while discussing the book that the immigration issue is only going to get worse as people flee their countries out of desperation.

In the end, this was not a “fun” or entertaining read but it’s not a dark or depressing read either. The author keeps it somewhat light but it’s definitely a story that stays with you.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

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Review & Tour: The Iguana Tree

The Iguana Tree

The Iguana Tree
Michel Stone
(Hub City Press, Hardcover, 9781891885884, March 2012, 224pp.)

The Short of It:

The Iguana Tree is written with compassion, yet provides only a brief glimpse into the lives of undocumented workers.

The Rest of It:

Hector, Lilia and their newborn daughter live in Puerto Isadore and dream of a life in America. As the novel opens, Hector has paid someone to take him across the border. The plan, once there, is to find a job, save money and send for Lilia and the baby as soon as possible. Lilia, impatient to be with her husband, finds passage herself and what follows is their story.

This novel had promise. It opened beautifully and I found myself taken with Lilia and Hector and the small town they live in. As Hector makes his way across the border, I considered many times, how desperate a person had to be, to risk everything for the American dream. But what happens seems almost too good to be true and then right when you begin to question just how good things are, they are hit with tragedy which was all-together too convenient for me.

As I was reading, I got the sense that the author didn’t want to upset anyone, including herself. That she wanted these characters to come out on top, but then knew or perhaps felt that it couldn’t possibly turn out well and then at the end, (which I will not spoil for anyone) she goes back into the other direction again. Kind of.

If I had spent more time with these characters in their hometown, I would have understood their motivation more. If the author had focused on one aspect of their story, perhaps more time could have been spent on developing that one aspect instead of trying to touch on all the issues involved with undocumented workers. And last, but certainly not least…what is she trying to say? I don’t feel as if a statement was made. Does she support illegal immigration? Does she support undocumented workers? Is she saying that the process should be easier to enter the country legally? I’m not sure and I really searched for this in order to give this book a fair shake.

I wanted and expected a lot more because there were pieces that did work well and there were times where I did feel something for these characters, but in the end, no stance was made and that choice affected the entire story.

Would I read another book by this author? Yes, because what I liked, I liked quite a bit, but I wanted more. I do think this would make a good discussion book for a book club though. There is a lot to explore.

Michel Stone

To visit Michel’s website, click here.

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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.