The Invisible Crowd

The Invisible Crowd

4.2 (303 ratings by Goodreads)
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'A fierce, big-hearted novel.' Joe Treasure, author of The Book of Air
'Pushes us to find our kinder selves.' Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You
'A wonderful book.' Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council

One of the Guardian's Readers' Books of the Year

Long listed for Not the Booker Prize

Awarded the Victor Turner Prize in 2018

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.

Fearless, uplifting and compelling, The Invisible Crowd is a powerful debut novel about loyalty, kindness - and the brief moments which define our lives.

Amazon reviewers love The Invisible Crowd:

'One of the best novels I've read this year.'

'I found myself absorbed from page one.'

'A delight to read while also being thought provoking and super relevant.'

'Beautifully crafted, emotionally resonant, I highly recommend it.'

'A debut novel with a huge heart.'

'The Invisible Crowd is compelling from the first page and will pull your heart kicking and screaming through the turmoil of finding a home, safety, and love.'
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Product details

  • Hardback | 432 pages
  • 159 x 240 x 32mm | 590g
  • HQ
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780008228811
  • 2,782,918

Review quote

'A wonderful book - brilliantly vivid and human, and I was completely taken up by the story. The characters felt real and the depiction of the shadow world of refugees and how we regard them rang true. I'm so glad to have read it and hope it reaches many people.' Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council

'The Invisible Crowd is primarily a portrait of Britain and of what British people do when confronted with difference. It is a plea for compassion. It pushes us to find our kinder selves.' Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, author of Harmless Like You

'A compelling contemporary story that shines a light on the lives of migrants and refugees and our search for common humanity'. Sita Brahmachari, author of Artichoke Hearts

'A fierce, big-hearted novel that celebrates the power of compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. It takes a special gift to explore an issue so urgent and so complex in such an emotionally satisfying way. Ellen Wiles has this gift.' Joe Treasure, author of The Book of Air

'A sensitive, affecting novel, which looks behind the headlines to explore the experience of an asylum seeker in the UK' Francesca Rhydderch, author of The Rice Paper Diaries

'A deeply felt novel using a technique that literally 'gets behind the headlines' on asylum' Tim Finch,author of The House of Jounalists

'A brilliant novel that gives voice to those often silenced or dispossessed' Paul Burston, author of The Black Path

'I absolutely loved it. It's beautifully written, fascinating, emotional, serious, brilliant'. Gemma Seltzer, author of Speak to Strangers
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About Ellen Wiles

Ellen Wiles was born in 1981 and grew up in Reading. After doing a music degree at Oxford, she did a Master's in Human Rights Law, and then became a barrister at a London chambers, disappearing off periodically to work, including on The Bushmen Project in Botswana and with Karenni refugees in a camp in Thailand. After scribbling fiction on the side for a while, she did a Master's in Creative Writing, and eventually quit the law. She is the author of Saffron Shadows and salvaged Scripts: Literary Life in Myanmar Under Censorship and in Transition (Columbia University Press, 2015), which includes interviews with Burmese writers and new literary translations. She is currently doing a PhD in Literary
Anthropology, researching live literature, and directs an experimental live literature project. She lives in London with her husband and two small children.
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Rating details

303 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 39% (117)
4 45% (137)
3 15% (44)
2 1% (3)
1 1% (2)
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