Happy New Year, friends! Last week, I spoke to Hillel Italie, book reporter for the Associated Press, about the theme of immigration in current fiction. Was my novel a response of some sort to the rhetoric and/or the policies of the current administration? The short answer is no. I started working on The Other Americans in 2014, long before the president announced his run, and have written about migration in all of my novels, including this most recent one. The only difference is that The Other Americans is set in California, and features characters whose lives have been marked in very different ways by their decision to uproot themselves. The Associated Press piece also mentions new novels by Angie Kim, Samira Ahmed, Devi Laskar, and Valeria Luiselli, and was picked up by several newspapers, among them the Washington Post and the New York times, so please take a look.
In other book news, I’m thrilled to report that The Other Americans has been included in most-anticipated lists by the Boston Globe, BBC Culture, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Bustle, Nylon, Buzzfeed, Lit Hub, The Millions, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, and the Guardian.
Advance reading copies of my new book went out to media last month. This part of the process is always anxiety-inducing, at least for me. So I’m particularly thrilled to report that the first trade review of The Other Americans is out, and it’s a starred one from Kirkus!
“Lalami is in thrilling command of her narrative gifts, reminding readers why The Moor’s Account was a Pulitzer finalist…Nuanced characters drive this novel… Lalami expertly mines an American penchant for rendering the ‘other.’”
Please take a look, add to your list, and tell a friend or five!
My new novel, The Other Americans, comes out on March 26, 2019. It’s a story about home, what makes us leave or draws us back, and I can’t wait to talk to you about it. Come say hi at one of my readings!
Exciting news! My new novel, The Other Americans, will be published next spring by Pantheon in the US and Bloomsbury in the UK. The book is about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant in California, which sets off a chain of events that reveals unexpected ties between people in a small town in the Mojave.
Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of this event bring together an eclectic cast of characters: his daughter Nora, a jazz composer who must return to the small town she thought she’d left behind for good; his widow Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efrain, a witness whose personal circumstances prevent him from coming forward; Jeremy, a former classmate of Nora’s and a veteran of the Iraq war; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son’s secrets; Anderson, a neighbor who is trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself. Narrated in turn by each of these characters, The Other Americans probes the invisible connections that tie Americans together even as they remain deeply divided. As the mystery of what happened to Driss Guerraoui unfolds, a family’s secrets are revealed, a town’s hypocrisies are faced, and love, in its messy and unpredictable forms, is born.
The novel has received early praise from the Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee (!!!) and from my brilliant friend Viet Thanh Nguyen. As you know, pre-orders are hugely important in the few months leading up to publication. I would so appreciate it if you ordered the book from your indie bookstore or online retailer. Or you can ask your local library to order it for you.
I will be going on tour next spring to promote The Other Americans, and will post details on the events page as soon as they’re confirmed. Until then, be well!