My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Police Captain Ali has to give up his dreams of joining the Internal Security Force due to a physical defect. Initially stuck with ridiculous assignments such as arresting chefs for making penis-shaped cakes for a private function, he gets sucked into the investigation of mysterious deaths amongst foreign construction workers.
Maryam needs to write a report - something unique to life in the Arabian Gulf - so that Professor Paul will give her a passing grade. Failing would mean that she would get kicked out of university - and her mother would finally be able to marry her off. When her brother, Nasser, suggests that she write about migrant workers and their lives, she jumps at the idea. Finding one to interview for her report is no easy feat, however. As an unmarried female, she doesn't have the freedom to interview any of the male migrant workers - even if she could find one who was willing to talk to her.
Manu is excited to leave Nepal and join his sister Sanjana in the Middle East. But things quickly turn sour when his expected office job turns into menial labour on a construction site, his salary is slashed, and he has no way to contact Sanjana.
The Migrant Report is an honest peek into life in the Gulf - where profits are more important than the lives of cheap labour, and family honour is more important than truth or education. But the world is slowly changing and Ali, Maryam and Manu find themselves treading in dangerous waters. The three of them, with the help of their family and friends, need to figure out how to walk the dangerous balance between meeting society's expectations and cultural values whilst pressing to expose the corruption behind the scenes without ending up dead. Race, religion and skin colour all make up an important part of one's identity - both in the way one views oneself, and in the way one is treated by others in society - and Moha demonstrates this very well in The Migrant Report.
I enjoyed reading Moha's latest novel. It's an ambitious one - one that contrasts the differences between being an expatriate and an immigrant, though both are foreign workers in a foreign country. It highlights the privileges of being white and illustrates the restrictions of being a Muslim girl.
I think it is an important story that needed to be told.
*I received a free copy of this book via Novel Publicity in exchange for an honest review.
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About the book:
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About the author:
She currently lives with her family in Qatar, where she teaches writing and literature courses at American universities.
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