Late one spring night in California, Driss Guerraoui—father, husband, business owner, Moroccan immigrant—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; Efraín, 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. Timely, riveting, and unforgettable, 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This powerful novel explores how the death of a Moroccan immigrant impacts his family and his entire California community, exposing the xenophobia that may have led to his demise. Laila Lalami, the author of The Moor’s Account, writes with a light touch—even though the content of The Other Americans is anything but frivolous, it comes across like a gripping whodunit. Lalami’s use of multiple narrators who reflect America’s cultural and economic diversity allows even the dead man to have a say and highlights the universal truth that people lie to themselves to justify their choices. By not emphasizing any one viewpoint, Lalami lets her characters’ differences shine through and allows all of these “other Americans” to speak for themselves.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A magnificent novel. The sensitivity, insight and compassion expressed by the characters are profound. Ms. Lalami has quietly become one of my favorite authors after The Moor’s Account and now The Other Americans.