The Illegal


The IllegalAfter being selected as the winner for Canada Reads 2016, I need to stress that this novel is not only for men.  In fact, the book was defended by none other than Clara Hughes, a female Canadian athlete and Olympic champion.  I was surprised that the novel made it all the way to the top because it is a political thriller, after all. There is no denying that Hughes made great cases for her arguments and I do like Lawrence Hill (I met him when our library invited him as a guest speaker right after he won his first Canada Reads, with The Book of Negroes).  He is such a nice and down-to-earth person.  Even after the debates this time around, he surprised the audience by showing up and congratulating Hughes, staying humble the whole time.  I think the reason his book rose to the top, however, was because of the topic which is at the forefront of Canadian people’s minds and quite relevant right now: refugees.  It certainly made me realize how it would be like to live in fear as a refugee and also observe how judgmental others can be (with no sympathy, whatsoever).  Political thrillers are usually fast paced and not very literary, which is why men like to read them.  This story has enough action and bad-ass moments that will pull the reader in and make them follow it as if they were watching a movie.  Maybe having it win the Canada Reads title this year will encourage the male population to read more 🙂

HisLit title read-alikes:
If you enjoyed Hill’s winning thriller, here are others that you would perhaps be interested in:
Harare North by Brian Chikwava
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
Asylum City by Liad Shoham

Throughout The Illegal‘s pages you will meet political figures corrupting the government for their own personal gains, you will follow their gun-toting thugs and discover the ugly truth of injustice to innocent people.  You will also enjoy the determination and courage of a refugee, who is willing to go to extreme lengths for his sister’s sake.



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