CLEVELAND RIGHTS READERS DISCUSS THE OTHER AMERICANS
CLEVELAND RIGHTS READERS DISCUSS THE OTHER AMERICANS BY LAILA LALAMI
A timely and powerful new novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant that is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, all of it informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture. Nora Guerraoui, a jazz composer, returns home to a small town in the Mojave after hearing that her father, owner of a popular restaurant there, has been killed in a suspicious hit-and-run car accident. Told by multiple narrators--Nora herself, Jeremy (the Iraq war veteran with whom she develops an intimacy), widow Maryam, Efrain (an immigrant witness to the accident who refuses to get involved for fear of deportation), Coleman (the police investigator), and Driss (the dead man himself), The Other Americans deftly explores one family's secrets and hypocrisies even as it offers a portrait of Americans riven by race, class, and religion, living side by side, yet ignorant of the vicissitudes that each tribe, as it were, faces.
"Powerful . . . Fascinating . . . Heartbreaking . . . It matters desperately . . . The novel opens into a collective confessional . . . At the core of The Other Americans is a deep anxiety: What if the truth is contradictory or so obfuscated that we lose the will to pursue it? For the reader, the novel presents something of a Rorschach test. Will our belief and sympathy depend on the speaker's racial or gender identity, or perhaps his or her age?"
--The New York Times Book Review
"Lalami gives us a searching exploration of the lives of several individuals with whom mainstream American society has a vexed relationship."
--The Washington Post
LAILA LALAMI is the author of The Other Americans, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits; Secret Son; and The Moor's Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Harper's Magazine, and The Guardian. A professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside, she lives in Los Angeles.
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