Welcome to Paradise (Kobo eBook)
Mahi Binebine’s courageous novel takes place in Morocco, where seven would-be immigrants, pulled by the dream of a better life, gather one night near the Straight of Gibraltar, the ten-mile-wide waterway that separates Europe and Africa, to wait for a signal from traffickers that it is time to cross. While they wait, their stories unfold: Kacem is an escapee from the civil war in Algeria; Nuara, with her newborn child, hopes to find her husband, who hasn’t been in touch for months since moving to France; and Aziz, the young narrator, and his cousin Reda are severed, in different ways, from their families in southern Morocco. They all share a longing to escape and a readiness to risk everything, but the only person who can help them is Morad, a fast-talking ex-con. Welcome to Paradise delves into a world that most readers know only from stories on the nightly news, delivering a compassionate glimpse into the difficulties facing asylum seekers and a striking portrait of human desperation.