If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

50 Book Challenge

Book #7: Dune, by Frank Herbert

I explore this classic sci fi novel, along with the David Lynch movie adaptation, in this more complete analysis.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Due to various obligations, I've gotten a bit behind in my updating for my 50 Book Challenge. I have a ton of entries to make, so the next week will be spent updating in that regard.

50 Book Challenge

Book #6 - Harbor, by Lorraine Adams

This book actually makes an excellent companion piece to The War Within, which I reviewed a couple of months ago. Like that film, the story focuses on Arab-American emigrants and the difficulties they face as they try to integrate into U.S. society. The central character is Aziz Akoun, an Algerian who has made every effort to escape the oppression in his country for hopefully better days in a new world. His experiences in his homeland include enforced service in the Algerian army, where he is witness (and occasional unwilling participant) in all manner of horrors and atrocities.

He arrives in Boston after stowing away on a ship for 52 days, and when he hits land in the U.S., a kindly Muslim takes Aziz in. Unfortunately, the people who offer him aid are from a different country than his own and have their own suspicions and prejudices about people from his country. Before long, Aziz has reunited with old acquaintances from Algeria, and begins making an effort to build himself a life.

It’s not easy, unfortunately. Due to his association with some unsavory characters, he comes under suspicion for potential terrorist and other criminal activities (including credit card fraud). Aziz is innocent, and in fact is indignant with the knowledge that some of his friends would endanger their “harbor”. None of that matters, unfortunately, because in the eyes of those who do not know him, he is guilty by association.

I do highly recommend this book, which is the debut novel for Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lorraine Adams. She has clearly done her research and the events ring entirely true. What is a terrorist? If Harbor teaches nothing else, it is that this answer is not always simple or easy, and also that quickly deduced conclusions are usually wrong.



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