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The Boat People: A Novel
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2018
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Description
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...
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
01/09/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385542302
ASIN:
B071YBGB7Z
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Sharon Bala. (2018). The Boat People: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Sharon Bala. 2018. The Boat People: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Sharon Bala, The Boat People: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Sharon Bala. The Boat People: A Novel. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2018. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Needs Update?:
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 16:53:35
Date Updated:
Dec 06, 2020 02:43:52
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Oct 13, 2021 07:04:49
Last Metadata Change:
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      • bioText: Sharon Bala lives in St. John’s where she is a member of The Port Authority writing group. Her short story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” won the prestigious Writers’ Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2017.  The Boat People is her first novel. Please visit SharonBala.com.
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title
The Boat People
fullDescription
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...
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        November 13, 2017
        A reckoning between Canada’s historic ideals and its contemporary politics is forced in this timely and engrossing debut novel based on the arrival of 500 refugees from war-torn Sri Lanka in 2010. After a voyage aboard a ship “groaning under the weight of too much human cargo,” Mahindan and his son land with their fellow fleeing Tamils near Vancouver, woefully unprepared for the trials that still await them. Grace has been appointed to arbitrate their fitness to enter the country by a politician who instructs her, “Canada has a reputation
        for being a soft touch.... We must disabuse the world of that notion.” The government’s attempt to cast the refugees as terrorists leads to protracted admissibility hearings, forcing Mahindan’s son into foster care and dimming his dreams of freedom. Skillfully braiding Grace’s and Mahindan’s perspectives, Bala manages wrings drama from the endless bureaucratic delays that make up the story. Hope only arrives once Grace’s mother begins sharing stories of their Japanese-Canadian family’s internment during World War II, leading Grace to reassess the ruthless approach expected of her; conversely, Bala’s gradual reveal of the nastiness Mahindan engaged in to escape Sri Lanka complicates his otherwise sympathetic portrayal. This is a powerful debut.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        November 1, 2017
        A real ship of refugees inspires a novel about the messy consequences of war.In 2010, Canadian authorities intercepted a rusty Thai freighter carrying 492 refugees from war-ravaged Sri Lanka, the teardrop-shaped island once called Ceylon, off the tip of India. The headlines inspired Bala to write and launch her first novel as books about migrants are at flood tide. This one toggles between Sri Lankan flashbacks and Vancouver, British Columbia, where the passengers come ashore, mistaking the helicopter and Canadian ships for a welcome party. Instead, they're all sent into detention, where many remain through these pages. Mahindan, a minority Tamil mechanic, and his small son are assigned to a well-meaning, alcoholic lawyer and his law student sidekick, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan-Canadian pining to do corporate work: "The pungent combination of chili powder, body odour, and urine that wafted ahead of them made Priya hold her breath," Bala writes. This is never a subtle book. It also features political appointee Grace Nakamura, a Japanese-Canadian adjudicator who, by the last page, has yet to rule on Mahindan's status. Grace's mother endured a World War II internment camp, setting up the elder woman's fixation on the property the family lost. Bala's writing is generally crisp, with occasional glints of humor. The short, unnumbered chapters march briskly; the dialogue lacks quotation marks. Each chapter heading--"Go Home Terorists!" (the misspelling is intentional); "Welcome to Winter"; "Enemy Aliens"; "Judge, Jury, and Executioner"--is plucked from the text. This first book has a workshopped feel as well as a few memorable passages: Mahindan's first encounter with a Western shower, the rhythms of a recycled family joke, a chilling scene of United Nations withdrawal. But 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.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 1, 2018

        When a cargo ship loaded with several hundred refugees from war-torn Sri Lanka arrives in Vancouver, BC, both official and unofficial suspicion immediately arises. Might not potential terrorists be bringing their specific brand of violence to Canadian shores? As Canadian officials scramble to manage the crisis, debut author Bala capably establishes the interlocking narratives of three characters, each revealing a different, albeit compelling, perspective on the issues. Mahindan, one of the refugees, awaits judgment on his status while withstanding a prolonged separation from his six-year old son. Grace, whose Japanese grandparents endured both property forfeiture and internment during World War II, must sit in judgment of the "boat people" as adjudicator. Among her opponents is Priya, a young lawyer and second-generation Sri Lankan participating reluctantly in the proceedings. She represents the rights of refugees, though initially her heart had been set on establishing a career in corporate law. VERDICT By empathetically exploring each character's backstory, Bala presents the complex task of balancing a nation's desire to be compassionate with the need to identify threats to national security, providing a timely examination of the refugee crisis worldwide. Recommended for all fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, 7/31/17.]--Faye Chadwell, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        November 1, 2017
        Mahindan came to Canada thinking he could make a fresh start for himself and his six-year-old son. Refugees from Sri Lanka, where the Tamil Tigers terrorist group battled the government to create an independent state, Mahindan and his son were among more than 500 immigrants who arrived on a cargo ship to seek asylum. But as the days turn into weeks and Mahindan is grilled in detention hearing after detention hearing, while being housed in jail, he begins to realize that your past can catch up to you, no matter how far you run. This earnest debut novel forcefully explores the issues surrounding immigration from the perspectives of three people: Mahindan; the second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian law student assigned to his case; and the adjudicator of Japanese descent, tasked with the cargo-ship cases, whose own family had lost their home during the internment in WWII. Deeply moving and nuanced, The Boat People asks what price a country is willing to pay when public safety comes at the cost of human lives.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
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...
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