Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States. She is the author of the novels Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which was on the Orange Prize longlist; and The Moor’s Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.
It was on the Man Booker Prize longlist and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her essays and opinion pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, Harper’s, the Guardian, and the New York Times. She writes the “Between the Lines” column forThe Nation magazine and is a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times. The recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside.
The Other Americans
From the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Moor’s Account, here is a timely and powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant—at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.
Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant living 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: Guerraoui’s daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town in the Mojave she thought she’d left for good; his widow, Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora’s and an Iraq 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, connections among them emerge, even as Driss’s family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love, messy and unpredictable, is born. (From Pantheon)
“Remarkable, timely novel. Impeccably written story about a hit and run, a family that must grapple with their grief as they try to make sense of why they’ve lost Driss, the patriarch, and the slowly unraveling mystery of who is responsible for the unthinkable. I love the depth of character here for Nora and Jeremy. The narrative is good from many points of view but theirs is the heart of this story and what a beautiful beating heart it is.” —Roxane Gay
“This deftly constructed account of a crime and its consequences shows up, in its quiet way, the pressures under which ordinary Americans of Muslim background have labored since the events of 9/11.” —J.M. Coetzee
Laila interviewed by Bilal Qureshi at the National Book Festival:
On West Texas Talk: Laila talks about The Other Americans
On NPR’s All Things Considered: Author Interview
3/23/2019 DIESEL, A Bookstore @ 4:00 PM:
Publication Party: Laila Lalami discusses and signs The Other Americans, with special guest David Ulin
4/8/2019 University of California Riverside @ 3:30 PM:
Reading at the Center for Ideas
4/14/2019 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at University of Southern California @ 10:30 AM:
Laila Lalami and Luis Alberto Urrea in conversation with Carolina A. Miranda
4/25/2019 Skylight Books @ 7:30 PM:
Reading and in conversation with Charles Finch