January 2019 Novel

The Boat People

For readers of Khaled Hosseini and Chris Cleave, 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.

Author - Sharon Bala

Sharon was born in Dubai, raised in Ontario, and now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland with her husband, the mathemagician Tom Baird. Sharon is a member of the Port Authority writing group. They can be found every second Thursday swapping fiction in the closet of a store room on Memorial University's campus. In her past lives, she worked in PR, event planning, and enjoyed a brief stint as a British housewife. Today, she earns her bread with words.

Publisher - McClellend Stewart

Read more about McClellend Stewart.

Reader/Advocate - Hasan Hai - Library Patron

TEDx speaker, founder of the MerB’ys, and chief kindness officer of Project Kindness - Hasan enjoys doing fun things to engage his fellow Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in building a kinder, more inclusive and engaged community.

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