This is a book about betrayal, about a homeland being sold out from under the feet of people who lived there for generations, and about the constant efforts by the British and American governments to keep those people from ever returning. This book, as the author says in her afterword, is a book about wrath. That wrath reached me, and I have little doubt it will reach others.
The history of Mauritius and the Chagos Islands is one that I wasn’t familiar with before reading this book, but I’ve begun to look into it more. It’s fascinating and heartbreaking, and Laurent (herself a child of Mauritius, though not of the Chagos Islands) captures that heartbreak beautifully. The Chagos Islands she presents us with are beautiful, if perhaps idealized, and that only provides a starker contrast to the sensation of the ground all but literally being taken out from under people’s feet. This is a story of colonialism in the late twentieth century, one that is still raw and furious. I highly recommend this book and hope I can find more on the subject someday.