Read advance reader review of Travelers by Helon Habila, page 4 of 4

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A Novel

by Helon Habila

Travelers by Helon Habila X
Travelers by Helon Habila
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2019, 288 pages

    Aug 2020, 304 pages


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  • Barbara B. (Evansville, IN)
    Refugee plight in Travelers
    Travelers is a fresh, original, fictional look at refugee travel in Europe and Africa. For me the real question remains: Am I empathetic to the lives of these travelers after reading the novel? Overall, I'd say no. The main nameless character from Nigeria makes poor choices. Throughout the six sections of the book, I see the characters slipping into mistakes.
    This novel is excellent in its originality and realism. College classes in current events might be judicious in using Travelers paired with nonfiction readings about current political asylum.
  • Joan P. (Owego, NY)
    Interesting book. It is divided into six books. Each could be a stand alone short story and it took me awhile to find the thread that tied it all together. The book tells of immigrants that come to Europe from Africa. Some come for education, some for work, and many come seeking asylum from disastrous wars and poverty. The characters are compelling. The stories are horrifying. We see these people on tv and read about them every day. Travelers is heartbreaking and depressing but now I truly understand the plight of these human beings.
  • Ariel F. (Madison, WI)
    Each of us is a traveler in one form or another. While this novel dealt with Africans leaving the continent of Africa to go to Europe or the United States as immigrants, it tells of their joys and pain. I felt that this book was especially relevant because of our current political environment regarding immigration. For me, it was an interesting and thought provoking novel.
  • Robin M. (Newark, DE)
    Grabbed me but...
    Travelers grabbed be at the start. I enjoyed the early character development and the relationship between Gina and her scholarly husband. Once Gina painted the child who asked for chocolate the story lost its cohesion. I found it difficult to relate to the other characters, to engage with their stories, to keep track of who was who and where they were and where they were from. I felt like a lost traveler, adrift, without a destination, and the conclusion of the book did not take me anywhere that I could tell.
  • Judith G. (Ewa Beach, HI)
    So many characters
    This novel addresses the plight of asylum seekers and refugees around the world. The characters are interconnected throughout, but I found it difficult to follow their trajectories. When I read this book my mind kept thinking of what is going on today with regard to 'illegal" immigrants....aka....asylum seekers. It's not a pretty picture nor were the individual characters stories in this book. I asked to read this book because I have lived on the African continent and am always interested in reading about the various nations and citizens. I sometimes re-read books that intrigue me, but this isn't one that I will re-read.
  • Jan M. (Broken Arrow, OK)
    Difficult Read
    Let me begin by saying I'm a reader in the autumn of my life - past the time that I can be very passionate about the unfairness of life's circumstances. Therefore, I'm sorry to say, this book did not appeal to me in so many ways. To me, it was very depressing and unnecessarily pedantic in it's detailed descriptions of places and events. It was hard for me to follow and to know which person was involved at the time.

    It did give this reader some insight into the awful conditions which refugees frequently must endure in their quest for safety from their particular oppression.

    In summary, I would say this was an interesting and compelling story but not a pleasurable read. It would certainly be fodder for discussion in a group of young people who are passionate about causes and injustices, just don't take it for a fun afternoon on the beach!

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