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Other Americans
Other Americans | Laila Lalami
From the Pulitzer Prize finalist, author of The Moor's Account--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. 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: 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; Efran, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and a veteran of the Iraq war; 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 or 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.
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review
ImperfectCJ
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Bailedbailed

Uncle. Between the shifting perspectives of identical-sounding cliches and stereotypes, name-dropping of places in the region (how many times do we have to hear that someone's gone to Stater Brothers? Does no one shop at the Vons or the Grocery Outlet?), inaccuracies about the desert (e.g., turtle doves do not live in North America and Santa Anas happen in fall), and cringeingly trite language and cliched sex scenes, I just can't.

ImperfectCJ On the plus side, I amused my family by ranting about the book over dinner last night. 2d
TheAromaofBooks A good book rant is always cleansing! :-D 2d
Hooked_on_books I hear you on the book rants! It must drive you crazy that this one is on the National Book Award short list. There‘s another book on the list, Trust Exercise, that I hated and I just don‘t know what it‘s doing there. We can rant together! 😆 2d
ImperfectCJ @Hooked_on_books The National Book Award is the reason I picked this one up. I'm trying to read all of the books on the short list, and it's been difficult for me to see how this one got on there. I'm going to have to read Trust Exercise and see if that one irritates me, too. 😉 2d
ImperfectCJ @TheAromaofBooks Ranting about books is a guilty pleasure of mine. Luckily my family enjoys watching it happen. 😆 2d
37 likes5 comments
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mklong
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Mehso-so

Lalami is trying to do a lot here, frankly too much. Islamaphobia, undocumented immigration, treatment of veterans, parental expectation, work/life balance, opioid abuse, gun rights, racism etc... are all brought up over the course of the narrative, but because there are so many issues to explore, none can be examined in any meaningful way. I get that she is going for “this is America now” but what‘s the point if we‘re only skimming the surface?

lele1432 Good review! 2mo
42 likes1 comment
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Aimeesue
Other Americans | Laila Lalami
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I need to read this one, as it takes place in the Mojave Desert, where I lived for a couple of years. Miss those date shakes
#NatBookFest

lynneamch She was fascinating at #NatBookFest. Definitely on my TBR now. 3mo
Aimeesue @lynneamch I have The Moor's Account, but haven't read it yet. Looking forward to both of her books, though! We lived in the Mojave for 2.5 years at Fort Irwin, CA. There really is a huge population of Middle Eastern immigrés in the area. And a heck of a lot of date trees, farms, and shakes. ? 3mo
tpixie @Aimeesue date shakes! I need to try one! 3mo
28 likes1 stack add3 comments
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AlizaApp
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Pickpick

Really enjoyed this story, about the aftermath of a hit-and-run in a small California desert town. The victim is a Moroccan immigrant, and issues of identity come up for his family and others in town. I liked the subtle romance, the intersecting viewpoints, even the resolution of the mystery which was both surprising and not.

TheNerdyProfessor I just finished this same book this week. I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 3mo
39 likes1 stack add1 comment
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CaitlinR
Other Americans | Laila Lalami
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Pickpick

Beautiful, spare language; deeply drawn characters; a complicated, interesting story. Lalami‘s OTHER AMERICANS is a wonderful powerful novel.

A family of documented Moroccan immigrants experience a terrible loss. Their daughter Nora seeks justice. Along her path are new truths and old pains. Her friend Jeremy struggles with demons that followed him from service in Iraq. Efrain and Marisela (undocumented) struggle with risk, truth and morality.

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AudreyMorris
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Pickpick

The standard immigrants‘ children struggle with expectations story, with a crime and a romance thrown in as well. Set in Yucca Valley outside Joshua Tree NP, which is different, and Laramie nails the heat and empty spaces. I was frustrated that several storylines were just dropped and not resolved (I really hate that!), and a mid-identified bird.

ImperfectCJ I just bailed on this one and was looking through reviews, and I wanted to say how relieved I am that someone else mentioned the darned bird! (edited) 2d
27 likes1 comment
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TheNerdyProfessor
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Pickpick

Nora's father, a Moroccan immigrant and restaurant owner, is killed in a hit and ran. In the aftermath, Nora returns home to mourn her loss. Along the way, she confronts old enemies, encounters a new love, and struggles to keep her father's memory alive. This book made me incredibly homesick for my parents and a bit guilty for how our individual ambitions often lead us away from those who raised us. Told in alternating perspectives, a real gem.

Reggie Sounds good! 3mo
73 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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TheNerdyProfessor
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This book has been in my physical TBR pile for several months. I picked it up after finishing a "just okay" read. I can already tell this one will be something special. It caught my attention from page 1. A really interesting portrayal of immigrants, class differences, cultural differences, and conflict.

Tamra Love your rosemary! 3mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Pretty ❤️ 3mo
80 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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SoManyBooksNotEnoughTime
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Mehso-so

The Other Americans is a story that covers way more than just the hit-and-run at the center of it. Everyday problems and life's struggles come to the forefront through characters struggling with PTSD, drug addiction, marriage problems, failing businesses, immigration, racism, societal changes, and more. At times I found it hard to keep track of the differing points of view, but I appreciated the overall message.

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UnabridgedPod
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Pickpick

Laila Lalami's The Other Americans spirals from a central event: the death, in a hit-and-run accident, of Driss Guerraoui. Driss and his wife Maryam immigrated from Morocco when their eldest daughter was young; their younger daughter, Nora, is the protagonist, along with Jeremy, her friend from high school and a current police officer. They are, however, accompanied by dozens of other narrators as we see the accident and the history of Driss ⬇️

UnabridgedPod and Maryam's family through almost every perspective. This novel is, simply, gorgeous. Its fragmentation brings eloquence to the story, layering truth over truth and revealing, ultimately, that everyone's story has a meaning, that all truths have relevance. And yet, there's a central truth in the weighing of stories, of privileging those who strive for improvement, who fail and move forward. This makes me SOOO want to read Lalami's earlier works. 5mo
Freespirit That's a great review😊 5mo
11 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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suzisteffen
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Pickpick

📷: wikimedia commons

A bit wild to read this novel, w/multi-character POVs, directly after reading There There, but it points up differences between a first novel & a novel by a more experienced writer. Lalami, author of The Moor‘s Account & Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, puts together a novel of grief and loss, with well-sketched characters from a variety of backgrounds creating a mix of points of view that merge to solve a hit and run ⬇️

suzisteffen ... and to solve, for at least some of the characters, some central questions of their lives. Lalami pulls no punches in several scenes wherein racism, sexism, and Islamophobia (sometimes in a mix!) come into play, but she‘s not didactic and lets readers connect the dots about the actual murderer‘s motivations. 6mo
suzisteffen 4.5⭐️ and a very recommended read. 6mo
24 likes1 stack add2 comments
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suzisteffen
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So in May I discovered a random $25 Barnes & Noble gift card in my wallet.
Me: Hmmm, Normal People and the Other Americans are due back at the library and I won‘t have time to read them. I wonder if I have a Nook account?
*checks, resets password to account I haven‘t looked at for years, spends all the money on two new ebooks*
Now it‘s time to start this one for real!

Lindy Nice problem-solving. 😉 6mo
suzisteffen @Lindy 😂 Thanks. Note to self: Clean our wallet more often! 6mo
23 likes2 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
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The battle of the book covers, UK vs US.

I‘m sometimes in a dilemma as to which covers to choose. Here‘s the result of a poll done on Instagram by Electric Literature. It‘ll be interesting to see if your preferences are the same as the results. And more books to add to your TBR of course. 😁

https://electricliterature.com/the-battle-of-the-book-cover-u-k-versus-u-s/

Leniverse Pretty much in agreement with the article there! 👍 6mo
Soubhiville Cool article! I agreed with about half. 6mo
Dolly Interesting article! It would be fun spending a whole day in a book store just looking at and discussing covers. Thanks for the link! 6mo
84 likes3 comments
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suzisteffen
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#friyayintro by the legend @howjessreads
1. I finished four New Yorkers this week!!! Ahhh! 😃😮🥰
2. Heading into the movie Booksmart right now, probably going to a play tonight and another one tomorrow night, grading a LOT, reading four books (including ragged). Riding my 🚲. Cleaning!! Woo yeah. 😂

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suzisteffen
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#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

1. Current reads are BLACK IS THE BODY; THE BIRD KING; and THE POISONED CITY (I have tagged two of them ... often ... in the past day 😂).
2. Next up is the tagged book, Laila Lalami‘s THE OTHER AMERICANS. Due 5/22!! Ahem.
3. Hunh. I go to a lot of movies? If you don‘t count all of the Marvel movies as book adaptations, then it was “If Beale Street Could Talk” in January. (That movie was ROBBED at the Oscars!)

suzisteffen Also next up on Libby is 6mo
suzisteffen & on Hoopla, after I finish Bird King, it‘s 6mo
Weaponxgirl When you get to skin folk can you give me a tag and I‘ll try to read it alongside if that‘s cool with you? I have access to this one! 6mo
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suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl I will do that!! Cool! 6mo
Weaponxgirl @suzisteffen yay! I‘ll try to read as quickly as you do too! 6mo
suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl one thing that might help us both is to read one short story per day? I often do that when I‘m reading like 8 books at a time. 😂 6mo
Weaponxgirl @suzisteffen yup, I hear ya. I do the same but then I eventually start to miss reading a big ole chunk of book at once. Sometimes it‘s one essay, one poem and one short story a day and I never finish anything for ages! 6mo
suzisteffen @Weaponxgirl I deffo get obsessed at the end and storm through the last few stories or essays, usually. 6mo
16 likes8 comments
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Jolynne
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Pickpick

”Always the anti-immigrant, wall wanters believing they were the first to arrive and claiming all, as theirs.”

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Expandingbookshelf
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“The present could never be untethered from the past, you couldn‘t understand one without the other.”

11 likes1 stack add
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jouleian
Panpan

I really just couldn't get a hold of this book. It started off with one plot that branched out into a bunch of dead end tributary storylines that I didn't find useful at all. This book might be for someone else, but for me it was a DNF.

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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

A man is killed in a hit and run and those in the community then tell their stories and his in this multi-narrator novel of human relationships. Lalami explores so many current topics while driving home the unknowability of a person. I found the book slightly remote in places but overall I enjoyed it.

54 likes2 stack adds
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TheLibrarian
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#bookmail - Had over 10 books in my cart but narrowed it down to 4. Feeling pretty proud of myself - showing some “shelf” control.

JennyM You did well - shelf control strong! 7mo
LauraJ Impressive feat! 7mo
90 likes2 comments
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sophierayton
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Pickpick

Very well done. Lalami shows lots of different perspectives and takes a compassionate approach to them all. They weave together like magic to form a rich story that will keep you thinking long after finishing. I expect this book will be involved in this year's book awards and I hope it does well.

41 likes3 stack adds
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Hooked_on_books
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I had to come to Portland tonight to pick up my husband from the airport, so I came a bit early to trade in my books at Powell‘s and Laila Lalami was speaking! I was so excited and she‘s just lucky. I have this one as an ARC and now look forward to it even more.

vivastory I wasn't aware of this one, I'll have to check it out. I loved 8mo
Hooked_on_books @vivastory It sounds really good. I‘m embarrassed to admit that I‘ve had The Moor‘s Account on my shelf for a couple of years but still haven‘t gotten to it. 😳 8mo
vivastory I read it a couple of years ago. I don't remember a lot of specifics, but I was really impressed by it 8mo
59 likes1 stack add3 comments
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rmaclean4
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Just started this one. I know very little about it!

12 likes1 stack add