Synopses & Reviews
We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how it unfolds.
A note from the author This terrible place was a removal centre for asylum seekers. We'd been hired to serve canteen meals to people being returned to the murderous regimes they'd fled. These were the people my country had decided it wouldn't help. It was hard to look them in the eye. Everyone ate with plastic spoons. It would have been brave to provide people in their predicament with anything sharper.
After detention in heartbreaking conditions, most would be forcibly deported to countries where many would be tortured and killed. Mass deportation continues to this day. It doesn't take a genius to point out the parallel with the Holocaust. It doesn't take a novelist to realise this isn't terribly British.
What was remarkable, though, was the stoicism and sheer grace of some of these doomed people. Years later, it was ahumbling experience and a fierce delight to research this novel. The refugees I heard from brought me to unexpected discoveries: the beauty of Nigerian English and Jamaican English, the startling graveyard humour of refugees, and the moral courage of the many citizens who help asylum seekers, in defiance of their authorities. It's an uplifting, thrilling, universal human story, and I just worked to keep it simple. One brave African girl; one brave Western woman. What if one just turned up on the other's doorstep one misty morning and asked, Can you help? And what if that help wasn't just a one-way street?