Publication date: March 16, 2021
Pages: 304 pages
Genre: Fiction, literary fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ☆☆☆☆
Strengths: Words, character progression
Weaknesses: Kind of dry in parts
I have to admit, I've got a real soft spot for literary fiction, but never really have enough time to slow down and enjoy it. That being said, this was a truly beautiful book about some really ugly subjects.
Told almost entirely by a first person narrator, with a few bits of what other people said to her, the narrator is slowly acclimating to life in the UK. She's a Syrian refugee who writes a column in a London paper (online) as the author 'Voiceless.' As a result of all the trauma and shock she suffered as she fled Syria on foot, by boat, and sometimes hidden with freight in trucks, she has stopped talking. Months in the hospital ensured that it wasn't a physical problem, and everything should be working fine, despite the obvious abuse and neglect suffered en route.
She's a watcher, and she describes so wonderfully everything she sees from her apartment. When her editor asks for more memories and personal stories, she takes us with her through parts of that painful journey. And as she eventually begins lowering the walls and engaging with her community, we get to be there for that too.
When sharing how it truly is for her to be a refugee, and to have traveled so tragically to somewhere she hoped she could feel safe, readers of the column by Voiceless still doubted her truth. It was a sad picture of the lack of tolerance and acceptance the 'others' in society may always face.
This was a great book that gave a potential voice to Voiceless and tried to share the real emotion behind the tough choices and challenges of a refugee trying to relocate and have a new life. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates learning about someone else's perspective, especially as a refugee.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my electronic copy of this book. Receiving the book for free did not influence my review.