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Zantoroland, a poor (and fictional) nation in the Indian Ocean, has produced the world’s fastest marathoners. Keita Ali has the potential to become one of them.

When his father is imprisoned for his opposition to the dictatorship’s treatment of dissidents and refugees, Keita runs for his life. With the help of an unscrupulous marathon agent, he flees to Freedom State, one of the world’s richest nations, whose ruling political party is determined to expel refugees from Zantoroland.

Trapped by his agent, Keita flees to AfricTown, a massive ghetto in Freedom State where undocumented people hide from the government. He struggles to survive in a political climate where lives are considered disposable, and eventually triumphs with the help of unexpected friends.

The Illegal, which contains vulgar language, is a complex novel that takes an unflinching, at times scathing, look at the way the world has treated people who have no legal status and legitimate refugees. (HarperCollins)

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