Rushda's Reviews > Internment

Internment by Samira Ahmed
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it was ok

2.5 - thought it had moments of real, powerful strength, certain events towards the end of the book brought down the rating.

weirdly enough, the trump-era setting of this book is one of its weaknesses. although trump has been blatantly islamophobic, his presidency is in no way the first to incite anti-muslim violence and discriminatory (im)migration policies. in fact, the events of this book seems even more plausible in the bush era when being islamophobic was "acceptable" and a key part of the "war on terror", and detentions were already a reality.

by setting it in an alternate timeline of the real world in trump's america, it ends up erasing reality in a way that confused me. for a book that's supposed to have been set in our world, the world-building was pretty weak. i have nothing against "issue books" - in fact, i think they're necessary when they're talking about real issues - but it's slightly odd that ahmed chose to write about a hypothetical scenario when muslims are already facing detention and having their rights denied under this presidency. plus, islamophobia is a transnational issue - the recent attack in new zealand proves that. the narrow trump's america-focused remit of this book really limited its scope for me, especially when so much context was left out.

islamophobia is scarily real in our own timeline. but the resilience of muslims in the book is what resonated with me most; thankfully, i know from real life muslim activists that this isn't fictional either. the good, informative author's note at the end was my main takeaway from the novel.

ultimately, as a(n older?) muslim, i wasn't especially shocked by this book as other readers have been because it wasn't as eye-opening for me as it may have been for others. as interesting as the concept is, it unfortunately won't be one of my favourite reads of the year.
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Reading Progress

January 4, 2019 – Shelved
January 4, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
March 22, 2019 – Started Reading
March 23, 2019 –
30.0% "on her second book and samira ahmed still hasn't learned how to transliterate khudahafiz 😶"
March 25, 2019 –
40.0% "really curious why anyone thought references to dr who, star wars and netflix shows belonged in a book like this"
March 27, 2019 –
65.0% "samira ahmed really wrote a book about the islamophobia (which drastically worsened in america during "the war on terror", resulting in the military occupation of muslim majority countries), and the detainment and torture of muslims...and made the White Ally™ an army man? critical thinking skills??? can we please get some critical thinking skills here??"
March 27, 2019 – Finished Reading

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