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The Other Americans

The Other Americans

Book - 2020
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"Late one spring night in California, Driss Guerraouifather, husband, business owner, Moroccan immigrantis 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; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Noras and an Iraqi War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her sons secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself. As the charactersdeeply divided by race, religion, and classtell their stories, each in their own voice, connections among them emerge. Drisss family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and lovemessy and unpredictableis born."-- Amazon.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2020
Edition: A Novel Idea selection, 2021
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780525436034
0525436030
9781524747145
1524747149
Characteristics: 301 pages ; 21 cm

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Discussing on April 20, 2021 via Zoom. Zoom meeting link: https://zoom.us/s/97452212312

Discussing online via Zoom on April 23, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. Join here: https://zoom.us/j/93316346029

Discuss April 14, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. -- A Novel Idea... Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters to tell the... Read More »

Discussing online via zoom on April 28, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.

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DPLjennyp Jun 11, 2019

Tackles big issues in a quietly powerful manner. Highly recommend.


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b
bibliochola
Apr 02, 2020

I actually found this novel more enjoyable than The Moor's Account which was a bit of a chore to get through. This story flowed easily and every character was engaging, interesting and relatable. And I always appreciate a good, 'stealth' love story. The setting near the Joshua Tree park in SoCal is captivating and Lailani's portrayal of small town dynamics grappling with newcomers is empathetic and thought-provoking.

PimaLib_SWBooks Feb 06, 2020

This book was submitted for consideration for the 2019 Southwest Books of the Year list in the Fiction category!

t
tobyfear
Dec 28, 2019

Highly recommend

m
mnack_0
Dec 20, 2019

A disappointment. I didn't much care for her strategy of everyone telling their own story from a first person perspective. While I'm sure it sounded good on paper, the execution left something to be desired. The ending was predictable and unsatisfying.

g
gale37
Oct 03, 2019

I FOUND THIS NOVEL TO BE RATHER A DISAPPOINTMENT. THE CHARACTERS ARE HARDLY BELIEVABLE, ANDTHE LOVE (SEX) SCENES CONTRIVED. THE ENDING IS PREDICTABLE. IN CONTRAST TO "THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST", "EXIT WEST" OR "HOME FIRE" LALAMI HAS NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT LIVING IN THE USA AS A MUSLIM AFTER 09/11 AND ONLY MENTIONS IT BRIEFLY AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT.

u
uncommonreader
Sep 18, 2019

The mystery behind the death of a Moroccan man killed by a hit and run driver in small town California unfolds gradually along with the theme of racism and the impact on a soldier of serving in the Iraq War. The book touches on important issues and is an easy and fast read. However, it is not as good as Lalami's "The Moor's Account".

l
LauraSteinert
Jul 31, 2019

I struggled a bit at first with this odd book. Each new chapter is narrated by a new character, but then the characters start to recur and a story does unfold. Nora, who is the center of it all, is coping with the death of her father--was it an accident or hate-crime murder? I wanted an answer to that question (as Nora did) but none of the other characters seem to care and neither did the author. In the midst of nearly ever chapter for the first 200 pages, I asked "Why is he/she telling me this? What does this have to do with anything?" (Yes, I can be dense.) It finally dawned on me that this is how you make friends; you learn a little history here and there; you get some insight into their thoughts on occasion, and you grow closer.
Lalami touches on both sides of most of the story lines, although the sister remains mostly a mystery. The father blames his wife for his unhappiness. The Mother blames the father for hers--even after she admits her misery was result her of own deviousness. The sister's jealousy permeates everyone's life. Rather than look at her past objectively, Nora mourns over her own choices and almost give up on music, her own family, and men. As I read, these became real people in a real situation for me and by the time I got to the last page, I was wishing the book were longer.

DPLjennyp Jun 11, 2019

Tackles big issues in a quietly powerful manner. Highly recommend.

OPL_BethS Jun 06, 2019

A Moroccan immigrant restaurant owner is killed in a hit-and-run accident, and the story unfolds through the eyes of a variety of characters (his daughter, wife, shop neighbors, and friends).

l
laphampeak
May 13, 2019

A mild yet intriguing mixture of intimate character portrayals with a common theme of mystery from a hit and run accident. Thoroughly captivating.

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bibliochola
Apr 02, 2020

The story kicks off with the sad fact of a hit and run witnessed by undocumented worker Efraín. The novel unfolds through many voices touching on the victim, even his own. An engaging story, well-told with compelling character/narrators who navigate every humans' challenges with loss, home and of course - love!

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LPL_ShirleyB Jun 14, 2021

"Only now after my father’s death did I come to understand that love was not a tame or passive creature, but a rebellious beast, messy and unpredictable, capacious and forgiving, and that it would deliver me from grief and carry me out of the darkness."
Here is an insightful interview: https://lailalalami.com/the-other-americans/q-a/?doing_wp_cron=1622853268.4012899398803710937500

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