The Other Americans

The Other Americans

Book - 2019
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"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"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, [2019]
ISBN: 9781524747145
1524747149
9780525436034
Characteristics: 301 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

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 their stories and the invisible connections that tie them t... Read More »

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DPLjennyp Jun 11, 2019

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


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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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