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The Other Americans
by Laila Lalami




Overview -
***2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST***
Winner of the Arab American Book Award in Fiction
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize in Fiction
Finalist for the California Book Award
Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize
A Los Angeles Times bestseller
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Dallas Morning News, The Guardian, Variety, and Kirkus Reviews

Late one spring night in California, Driss Guerraoui--father, husband, business owner, Moroccan immigrant--is hit and killed by a speeding car. The aftermath of his death brings together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer returning to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; her mother, Maryam, who still pines for her life in the old country; Efra n, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and an Iraqi War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself.

As the characters--deeply divided by race, religion, and class--tell their stories, each in their own voice, connections among them emerge. Driss's family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love--messy and unpredictable--is born. Timely, riveting, and unforgettable, The Other Americans is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.

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More About The Other Americans by Laila Lalami

 
 
 

Overview

***2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST***
Winner of the Arab American Book Award in Fiction
Finalist for the Kirkus Prize in Fiction
Finalist for the California Book Award
Longlisted for the Aspen Words Literary Prize
A Los Angeles Times bestseller
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Dallas Morning News, The Guardian, Variety, and Kirkus Reviews

Late one spring night in California, Driss Guerraoui--father, husband, business owner, Moroccan immigrant--is hit and killed by a speeding car. The aftermath of his death brings together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer returning to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; her mother, Maryam, who still pines for her life in the old country; Efra n, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and an Iraqi War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself.

As the characters--deeply divided by race, religion, and class--tell their stories, each in their own voice, connections among them emerge. Driss's family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love--messy and unpredictable--is born. Timely, riveting, and unforgettable, The Other Americans is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781524747145
  • ISBN-10: 1524747149
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books
  • Publish Date: March 2019
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Other Americans

When Driss Guerraoui, the owner of a diner near Joshua Tree National Park, leaves his restaurant one night, he’s killed in a mysterious hit-and-run while crossing the street. But this wasn’t an accident; it was murder, concludes his daughter Nora, as a variety of surprising details about her father’s life emerge. He was, after all, feuding with Anderson Baker, the owner of the bowling alley next door.

As aspiring composer Nora returns to her hometown to help run the family diner and grieve with her mother and sister, she encounters a variety of ghosts from her childhood, including Baker’s son, A.J., who in high school wrote “raghead” on her locker, bullying her because her parents emigrated from Morocco out of fear of political unrest.

Moroccan-born Lila Lalami was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for The Moor’s Account, and her much-anticipated fourth book, The Other Americans, doesn’t disappoint. The story carefully unfolds from multiple viewpoints, including that of Nora’s immigrant mother, Maryam; her jealous and seemingly highly successful sister, Salma; and even her dead father. There’s also Detective Coleman, an African-American woman investigating the case, as well as a Mexican immigrant who witnessed Driss’ death and remains haunted by his ghost but is afraid to come forward and risk deportation. Nora also reconnects with her high school friend Jeremy, now an Iraq War veteran and sheriff’s deputy.

Lalami’s crisp, straightforward prose offers the perfect counterpoint to the complexity of her plot, which artfully interweaves past and present. Reminiscent of Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth in its depiction of the enduring effects of family secrets and betrayals, The Other Americans also addresses a multitude of other issues—immigration, prejudice, post--traumatic stress, love and murder—with what can only be described as magical finesse.

 

BAM Customer Reviews