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The Other Americans: A Novel av Laila Lalami
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The Other Americans: A Novel (utgåvan 2020)

av Laila Lalami (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6513935,979 (3.87)31
"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. 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" --… (mer)
Medlem:lfl147995
Titel:The Other Americans: A Novel
Författare:Laila Lalami (Författare)
Info:Vintage (2020), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Other Americans: A Novel av Laila Lalami

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» Se även 31 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 38 (nästa | visa alla)
Don’t Play it again Sam

Read by: Mozhan Marnò, P.J. Ochlan, Adenrele Ojo, Ozzie Rodriguez, Susan Nezami, Ali Nasser, Mark Bramhall, Max Adler, Meera Simhan
Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins

I had such high hopes for this book, having read some earlier novels by Laila Lalami that had shown promise. I have had good experiences with writers from Morocco and neighboring Algeria, as well as with Western writers’s books set in those countries. I’ve been to both and left a little bit of my heart in Morocco, a country I’ve always been drawn to since I read A Sheltering Sky in my youth.

Drinking mint tea, sitting around cafés French style, exploring medinas, waking to the call for prayer, meeting eccentric Westerners, Morocco has a certain je ne sais pas magic.

Sadly I was disappointed when I read The Other Americans. There’s not much of Morocco in the book, whose central characters come from Casablanca but live permanently in America. The prose too often reaches clichéd and banal lows. Take the Iraquí vet character Jeremy, musing over his Marine buddy Efraín, who he’s recently fallen out with and beaten to a pulp. I’m just looking after you, baby, he’d called to the horrified Nora as he stood over Efrain with his knuckles bloodied.

“The Marines had brought us together, two dumb kids from the desert. And although we’d fought side by side for years, in the end we’d come out just as we’d gone in, two different people. Now it was time for us to go our separate ways.”

But it’s not the patchy quality of the writing that’s the problem. Although there’s a central incident that the novel resolves around, the cast of characters is huge - just look above at the number of narrators - each one representing a different fully-fleshed-out character, each with their own story. Each chapter is devoted to a different character, and the novels cycles through the list on repeat until a conclusion is reached.

Jeremy, Anderson, Nora, Driss, Coleman, Maryam, Efrain, A.J., Selma and Anderson. They are all directly or indirectly linked to the “incident “ and each had their own story taking one or three dedicated chapters. Plus most of them had wives, mistresses and/or children who also tell their stories, most of which have little or no relation to the “incident” or to each other.

It was all a bit much. I’d be following Nora and her affairs and problems and then A.J would make a chapter appearance Then Maryam. And then back to Nora and so on and on and on. Many of the characters didn’t know each other though some did.

Then there were the multiple themes. Illegal immigration, the Iraq War, the fall of King Hassan II of Morocco and subsequent reforms there, Blacks in America. Muslims in America. Adultery, school bullying, the recession, police conduct and drug addiction.

Still I feel Lalami is a promising writer. I read the book through to the end; it managed to hold my interest. So it had something though I can’t quite work out what that something was.

I gave The Other Americans a 3.5 rating. I feel the writer took on too much for one novel. If she cut out the clichéd parts and a couple of the characters, and tightened the plot up a little, I’m sure it would have made a better read. ( )
  kjuliff | Apr 25, 2024 |
I had been curious to read this book as I had heard the author speak at a book festival some years ago. I knew she was a native Moroccan, and I knew this book was about immigrants.

I had a very hard time getting into this story, though. Each short chapter was narrated by a different character. I much dislike this form of novel and did not know this about it until after I started reading it. Though this story concentrated mostly on Nora, a young woman whose family is from Morocco and her adjustment to the sudden death of her father by what she felt was premeditated murder, I could not get interested in it they way I had hoped to. I simply read it to get through to the end so I could then read another book.

I found the ending of the book very unsatisfying as well. I really could tell what happened with Nora and Jeremy as Jeremy was nowhere in the last chapter. Why did the subject of Driss’s affair with Beatrice have to be brought up after his death? That affair was then moot. I totally hated A.J. and his dad. I could have cared less what happened to them.

Last, what was the purpose of having Efraín in the story? We learned very little of him. Why try to handle racism against Moroccans, American blacks, and Hispanics in one novel? It waters down racism too much and eliminates the deeper experience of just one person.


I must say that this author has the ability to express herself well. It’s just that I hated this story. I will read another of her novels (because I bought one after I heard her speak). I’ll give her another chance. :) ( )
  SqueakyChu | Jan 27, 2024 |
I enjoyed the book as well as the plot but my god did I get mad at Nora's mom for constantly comparing her two daughters and then leaving some open ended question such as did Salma get help in the end? Did Nora actually end up with Jeremy? What happened to Efrian? Just wish these questions could've been answered ( )
  florrrrr12 | Aug 31, 2023 |
The Other Americans by Laila Lalami is a superlative expose of widespread racism brilliantly injected into a hit and run mystery. Told from the view point of delectable and repulsive set of characters, Laila shows us a brittle Americana fabric that is searching for answers. Loneliness, love, immigration and the definition of home percolate this gorgeous novel. The metaphors come fast and furious. ( )
  GordonPrescottWiener | Aug 24, 2023 |
excellent writing and well developed characters ( )
  viviennestrauss | Sep 9, 2022 |
Visa 1-5 av 38 (nästa | visa alla)
For the reader, the novel presents something of a Rorschach test. Will our belief and sympathy depend on the speaker’s racial or gender identity, or perhaps his or her age? What if the perpetrators have no interest in being forgiven? What if we never really believed in truth, only persuasion?
 
Throughout the novel, Lalami’s attention to contrast and contradiction is stunning. Her prose is incisive and lived-in, as though culled from decades of listening in on private conversations between older family members. In this, Nora’s chapters are the strongest. Through her voice, readers most clearly feel the central tension of the novel: the Guerraouis’ deep desire to belong to a country that vilifies people like them.
 
“The Other Americans” manages to be many books at once: a gripping literary thriller, a complex love story and a sharp critique of an America wracked by war and hatred, divided against itself, constantly near a breaking point. And Lalami succeeds admirably on all fronts: The novel is intricately plotted, up to its shocking but unforced end. There are no unnecessary plot twists; Lalami is an intelligent author who’s not in love with her own cleverness.
 
[Lalami] shows how we are all "other," not just to our fellows, but to ourselves. A person capable of a ghastly crime might also be capable of deep feeling for other creatures. People who were once closer than lovers can drift apart, and lovers can become strangers within weeks, or decades.
 
The Other Americans demonstrates brilliantly, in ways foreseen and unforeseen, as often denied as acknowledged, how the personal and political enmesh in all our lives.
 

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My father was killed on a spring night four years ago, while I sat in the corner booth of a new bistro in Oakland.
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He shook his head in disbelief. I think he was just realizing that he had moved six thousand miles for safety, only to find that he was not safe at all.
She wanted us to eat “healthy” things…But not that she was trimming fat from my carnitas, she might as well have been trimming joy from my life.
Immediately a hand shot in the air. It belonged to a middle-aged man whose knee bounced up and down like the needle of a sewing machine.
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"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. 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" --

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