Category: personal

Profile in the Guardian

The Guardian‘s Hadley Freeman profiled me for the paper, ahead of the release of my new book in the UK. Here’s a taste:

This feeling of separateness – of being, as she puts it, “the person in the corner observing everything but who no one pays attention to” – would become a running theme in her life. Despite being working class, her parents sent her to a French-speaking school, usually the choice of upper-class families, “so that was another feeling of, you’re in here but not of us,” she says. Lalami grew up speaking Arabic at home, French at school and, eventually, English at work, and this flowing between different languages taught her that the usual barriers between people are more porous than most assume.

You can read the rest here. Early reviews of The Other Americans in the UK have appeared in the Times and The Economist.

Early reviews and tour information for The Other Americans

The Other Americans is out! The book launch party was at Diesel Bookstore in Brentwood, where I was in conversation with the brilliant David Ulin. It was wonderful to finally share the book with readers after being alone with it for so long!

Early reviews have appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Time, and Entertainment Weekly. I’m also thrilled to report that Esquire and the WSJ picked it as one of their best books for spring.

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be visiting Boston, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. You can find details about the first leg of my book tour on my events page.

‘By the Book’ in the New York Times Book Review

This interview was great fun: I talked to the New York Times book Review‘s By the Book about my reading habits.

How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? One book at a time or simultaneously? Morning or night?

Paper only. Books give me an intimacy that e-readers can’t deliver. I love the heft of a good novel in my hands, the smell of new pages, the fact that I can underline a beautiful sentence or mark an unusual detail. I interact with a paper book in many different ways; I’ve been known to throw a book across the room when it frustrates or angers me, for example. And books hold so many memories of the times and places in which I’ve read them. The other day, I opened a novel, and a bookmark that my daughter made me when she was 4 years old fell out. No e-reader can do that.

You can read the rest here.

Immigration and Climate Change

For the New York Times op-ed section, I wrote about the inevitable waves of immigration that will result from climate change:

By casting immigrants as either heroes or villains, these politicians reveal that they view immigration as a law-enforcement issue. The reality is much more complicated. Like other species on this planet, human beings are a migratory type. When they suddenly find themselves in desperate need of physical safety or economic opportunity, they leave home and start over somewhere new. It has always been this way. The earliest stories we tell ourselves are stories of displacement: Adam’s fall from Eden, Moses’ flight from Egypt, Muhammad’s hegira to Medina. Trying to stop this process through the building of walls strikes me as both ineffective and unnatural — like trying to stop a river from flowing.

I use the simile deliberately. Scientists predict that over the next decade the earth will warm by 1.5 degrees, and perhaps as much as two degrees Celsius if we fail to take drastic and sustained action on climate change. Even under the best-case scenarios, we will witness huge hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and other severe weather events. The consequences will be dire: loss of homes and livelihoods, hunger and disease, probably conflict, but eventually dislocation. As much as it is an economic, a social and a foreign-policy issue, migration is a climate issue.

You can read the whole piece here.


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