New year, new book! Here’s the cover for my upcoming book of nonfiction, Conditional Citizens. It’s about the experience of inequality and exclusion in the United States and I wrote it for everyone who’s ever felt, or been made to feel, like they didn’t belong in this country. Thanks to Viet Thanh Nguyen, Maaza Mengiste, Pankaj Mishra, and Kiese Laymon for their kind words about it. Details and preorder info at this link.
The Other Americans had a pretty good year. It was named a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller, and made best-of-year lists at NPR, Time, Variety, the Washington Post, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and many others. Translation rights were sold in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, and China. But this year was also marked for me by the loss of my beloved mother-in-law, the passing of one of my heroes, and some health troubles. So it goes. I’m looking forward to winter break, when I’ll get to spend some time with my family and enjoy some time offline. Thank you all, dear readers, for your support these past few months. Happy holidays!
I started writing The Other Americans as a way to find narrative order in the chaos of ideas and emotions that were swirling around in me about immigration and exile, alienation from the self and others, families and communities. It has been a long journey, with a lot of ups and downs. By the time I held the finished book in my hands, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Everything else that happened after that has been the proverbial cherry on the cake. So it was especially thrilling to hear that The Other Americans made it onto the shortlist for both the Kirkus Prize and the National Book Award in Fiction. My heart is full.
(Illustration by Katherine Moffett for Vanity Fair.)
Friends, I’m delighted to share with you that the Los Angeles Times picked The Other Americans for its book club this July! You can read an excerpt from the novel, a review by Michael Schaub, some questions for book club discussion, and more at the Times. Then on July 30, I will be in conversation with Lorraine Ali at Skirball Cultural Center. Tickets are available here. See you then!