Pick up The Invisible Crowd (if you haven’t done so already!), it’ll open your eyes about immigration and get you thinking about contemporary issues that we all face daily.
About the Book
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 2nd November 2017
Pages: 432 Pages
Genres: Immigration, Legal, Contemporary.
2nd March 1975
In Asmara, Eritrea, Yonas Kelati is born into a world of turmoil. At the same time, on the same day, Jude Munroe takes her first breath in London, England.
Thirty Years Later
Blacklisted in his war-ravaged country, Yonas has no option but to flee his home. After a terrible journey, he arrives on a bleak English coast.
By a twist of fate, Yonas’ asylum case lands on Jude’s desk. Opening the file, she finds a patchwork of witness statements from those who met Yonas along his journey: a lifetime the same length of hers, reduced to a few scraps of paper.
Soon, Jude will stand up in court and tell Yonas’ story. How she tells it will change his life forever.
The Invisible Crowd is the work of Human rights lawyer Ellen Wiles. The idea was based on her own personal experiences with an Eritrean asylum seeker and their case.
“I felt furious about the chasm of language between asylum seekers’ experiences and the ways in which they were being written about. On the one hand, the legal documents I had were dry and factual. On the other hand, all the tabloid headlines painted asylum seekers as swarms of liars and scroungers. Both felt so far from the truth. I looked around for novels about asylum seekers, but at the time there were very few. So I decided I had to try to write one.”
Yonas is an asylum seeker and Jude is his lawyer. They both share the same birthday but come from two different worlds. Each chapter is told through the eyes of someone who has a connection to Yonas and obviously, Yonas’s own feelings too. It’s interesting to read about how many people were touched by Yonas in some way or another. Whether this is through trying to help him, or just a simple conversation on the daily commute. Times like this should encourage other’s to stop and talk to people, rather than ignoring those they think are “different”.
The Invisible Crowd opened my eyes in so many ways. I’m quite an empathetic person, so when I see the headlines in newspapers about people trying to get to the UK for a better life, I do feel incredibly humble for what I have. However, to the extent of which they try and get here, is another story. You just don’t know the struggles they face at home, imagine living in a wartorn place where you and your family don’t feel safe.
Ellen turns her experiences into a harrowing story that puts things in perspective. You’re usually unaware of an asylum seeker’s backstory and their journey and tend to distance yourself, well, The Invisible Crowd won’t let you. Aslym seekers and refugees are human too.
For more backstory on the ideas behind The Invislbe Crowd, visit Indie Thinking’s Q and A with author Ellen here.