"Most of the town is at the book burning, so I should be safe," Samira Ahmed's narrator, Layla Amin, discloses at the outset of the writer's new novel, Internment. Ahmed's chilling parable is set in the near future, in a time when Muslim-American citizens have been rounded up and placed in camps. If that scenario sounds improbable, one has only to recall the internment of Japanese-American families in this country during World War II, when the hysteria and xenophobia of the era relatively quickly led to the unthinkable — the mass incarceration of peaceful American citizens — or of the current humanitarian catastrophe of immigrant families being separated at the border. The novel unfolds in startling detail via Ahmed's stark, clear, bold prose style.
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