Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book 7 - From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry





This is Gilvarry's first novel and is told in the first person voice of Boyet Hernandez, a young man from the Philippines, who has arrived in New York City 2002 with the hopes of pursuing a career in fashion and design (he went to school for it in the Philippines). His dreams, we learn fairly quickly, have been dashed because he is writing his memoir from a prison cell in Guatanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is sitting awaiting his military tribunal (and a visit from his lawyer that seemingly never arrives) for consorting with and aiding known terrorists. We are given insight into the world that is Gitmo - a place where there are barely tolerable conditions, no lawyer visits and only one two minute shower per week, which must be taken alongside another detainee. We also learned about and are swept up in the hustle-bustle that is the fashion world in New York City.

Gilvary takes a really nice, witty and yet, sharp, look at the American world, post 9/11 and the paranoia that has seeped into the consciousness, thereby obscuring practicality and reasonableness and clouding judgment. Because Gillivarry uses humor, the tension and emotions that surround such a political time bomb of a subject are diffused;however the message is not lost or diluted simply because of it. I think that it actually makes the message easier to accept into your brain and it assists the reader in processing the message that is being conveyed by this remarkable novel. His views on the horrendous treatment of people in Cuba is still clearly articulated. Some of the best moments were the chapters about Cuba, because they were often placed in positions in the book where you could easily note the stark contrasts between Boy's experiences there and his experiences in New York, pre-detainment.

This was a really good first book - the author will have a big task in living up to expectations because of how well-done this book was. Go out and purchase this book for your library immediately.

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