Monday, April 20, 2020

Internment by Samira Ahmed - HIGH

Internment by Samira Ahmed, 400 pages. Little Brown, 2019.  $18.

Language: R (95 swears,  22“f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (beating)



Layla is desperate to contact her boyfriend, David, but that’s impossible from inside this Relocation Camp. Its been 2 ½ years since that fateful election, but 6 months since the Exclusion Laws came in force. Now, because she is Muslim, Layla and her parents are in a dusty, forlorn place near the old Manzanar camp from WWII. Theirs is to be a model camp – success here will be replicated all over the United States. Her primary thought is to get word to David about where she is, and with the help of Corporal Reynolds, who has his own motives, she might be successful.  But she may also find herself the unwilling poster girl for the rebellion inside the camp.  For David Layla is willing to do almost anything.

Ahmed brings a painful look at modern racism in America with an all too believable near future. While I’m not fond of Layla’s overwhelming motivation being her desire to see her boyfriend, that’s a very common trope in pretty much every genre now. She would make a better hero, however, if her desire to be free were her primary motivator. Nevertheless, the topic is on point for American life now and this is a great read.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

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