Bookshop Santa Cruz invites you to join us for a free online event with author Laila Lalami to discuss her latest book now out in paperback, The Other Americans. This timely, powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant, was shortlisted for the National Book Award. 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. This event is cosponsored by The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz.
Register for this free Crowdcast event here.
This is a free event. The book may be purchased below.
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Late one spring night, as Driss Guerraoui is walking across a darkened intersection in California, he 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; Efrain, 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.
Laila Lalami is the author of Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, Secret Son, and The Moor’s Account, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and which won the American Book Award, the Arab American Book Award, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Harper’s Magazine, and The Guardian. In 2019, she was awarded the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates Prize for her body of work. A professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside, she lives in Los Angeles.
The Other Americans is a novel that traces the aftermath of a Moroccan immigrant family after the father, Driss, is killed in a hit and run. Laila Lalami tells the story through the perspectives of nine narrators, alternating between the daughter, Nora, her family, and the residents of the town. Lalami is a master in character development and has created a beautiful novel that effortlessly combines family drama and murder mystery. —Natalie