Praise and Reviews

  • Arab American Book Award Winner
  • National Book Award Finalist
  • Kirkus Prize Finalist
  • Time Magazine’s 100 Best Mystery and Thriller Books of All Time
  • California Book Award Finalist
  • Aspen Literary Prize longlist
  • Kirkus Best Books of 2019
  • Time Best Books of 2019
  • NPR Best Books of 2019
  • Variety Best Books of 2019
  • Washington Post Notable Book
  • BookPage Best Books of 2019
  • NYPL Best Books of 2019
  • NY Post Best Books of 2019
  • Entropy Best Books of 2019
  • National Bestseller
  • Los Angeles Times Book Club

“This deftly constructed account of a crime and its consequences shows up, in its quiet way, the pressures under which ordinary Americans of Muslim background have labored since the events of 9/11.”
—J.M. Coetzee

“Laila Lalami is a writer of uncommon conviction and tremendous insight.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer.

“A provocative and gripping novel by a gifted writer.”
—John Boyne

“Lalami treats all of her characters with compassion, never condescending to them or treating them like simple archetypes and writes about them with the gorgeous prose that’s marked all of her previous books. The Other Americans is a beautiful, compassionate novel from a writer with keen insight into the human condition and a rare gift for crafting perfect prose.”
—The Los Angeles Times

“Pulitzer Prize finalist Lalami (The Moor’s Account) may be our finest contemporary chronicler of immigration and its discontents. Her new novel spares no one, and it’s the kind of page-turning mystery you crave for a rainy reading weekend. The book uses different perspectives to uncover the real story behind a Moroccan immigrant’s death in a California intersection.”
—The Washington Post

“You’re in the hands of a maestra of literary fiction….if someone asked me to name one book I think at least grapples with the problem of trying to be The Great American Novel, I’d name The Other Americans.”

“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.”
—The Atlantic

“Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami (The Moor’s Account) artfully infuses her crime saga with tremendous empathy. She allows a broad range of locals to tell their own stories in (predominantly) first-person accounts….The chapters intimately detail the way these characters walk through and relate to the world. They function symphonically, enhancing The Other Americans’ tapestry of alienation….Lalami’s scrupulous construction lends The Other Americans a page-turning excitement.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“In The Other Americans, a powerful new novel by Laila Lalami, a diverse group of citizens are forced to question their beliefs and allegiances after a Moroccan immigrant is killed.”
—New York Times Book Review

“Always clear-eyed and revelatory when it comes to the immigrant experience, Lalami is at the height of her powers in this poignant symphony of perspectives about the painful complexity of life as a Muslim American.”

“Lalami offers a compelling portrait of race and immigration in America. The driving force of the narrative is a classic whodunit, but more interesting questions lie beneath: What does it mean to feel alienated from your family or country? Who gets to be heard, and who is silenced?”
—Time Magazine

“The multiple voices are handled with restrained mastery by Lalami, who eschews drama to focus on nuance and detail, offering an ever-shifting perspective on events…. 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.”
—The Guardian

The Other Americans confirms Lalami’s reputation as one of the country’s most sensitive interrogators, probing at the fault lines in family, and the wider world.”
—Financial Times

“The narrative opens out to become a tender love story, a family drama and a gripping mystery.
The result is a powerful novel of intolerance and compassion, resilience and weakness, love and loss, populated by flawed but sympathetic characters whose lives are rocked by actions and emotions beyond their control.”
—The Economist

“Splendid…At once mystery novel, character study and poignant reflection on the immigrant experience, The Other Americans is the kind of book you read breathlessly, savoring each character’s turn in the spotlight even as you miss the others. Together their voices create a vivid portrait of a time and place in America; a town of simmering resentments, wary tension, unexpected connections and uncanny beauty.”
—Seattle Times

“What fascinates her are the complex everyday feelings of isolation and separateness it provokes. It is this concern that keeps her vision taut and her prose detailed yet concise … A moving and exceptionally rich portrait of a modern American community, one that is much more far-reaching than just a saga of immigration.”
—The Sunday Times

“‘Other Americans’ take center stage in a timely new novel…You feel like the promise of America can still come through after all.”
—NPR, Fresh Air

“The book’s title, The Other Americans, seems to foreshadow a conflict between the powerful and the oppressed. But the canny irony of this novel is how similar they all are, whatever their backgrounds. Nora’s grief and “aimless fury” are common to everyone she encounters, whether the culprit is racism, infidelity, war trauma or lack of economic opportunity. Resentment and a sense of dispossession seem to be universal. It’s a paradigmatic American tale in which all people, regardless of race or creed, are equal in feeling like the mistreated Other.
—Wall Street Journal

“Writes elegant, genre-bending fiction that provides readers with complex individuals to associate with the word “immigrant” … The Other Americans is one of the most affecting novels I have read about race and immigration post 9/11 … It’s a novel that reaches beyond its immediate setting to illuminate more universal themes of loss, alienation and betrayal. Subtle, wise and full of humanity, The Other Americans deserves a wide audience.”
—The Times

“Laila Lalami’s rich, polyphonic fourth novel The Other Americans, her first to be set in the present-day US, centres on the hit-and-run killing of Driss….the novel’s round-robin mode nonetheless accumulates a kind of revelatory power, setting aside top-down commentary in favour of side-by-side juxtaposition – a narrative style that ultimately functions as a plea for more listening, as well as highlighting the quiet irony of the title, which ends up being hard to read as anything more than just “Americans”.”
—The Observer

“From its first sentence, The Other Americans, the fourth work of fiction from Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami, grabs the reader with its directness and urgency.”
—Star Tribune

The Other Americans is a thrill to read. It theorizes the “American Dream” by putting it into conversation with racial and socioeconomic categories. It questions the role of family loyalty. It introduces us to the struggles of Americans on the margins, and it wraps everything up neatly around the story’s pivotal moment: an accident that may or may not have been a crime. Lalami’s finely tuned analysis of contemporary America is insightful and, at times, biting in its critique.”
—World Literature Today

“With at times chilling, yet always vivid, prose, Lalami channels the realities of our layered, and undoubtedly flawed society, with compassion, empathy, and an unflinching eye.”
—Columbia Journal

The Other Americans is a powerful novel filled with magnificent details…Ms. Lalami’s work beautifully dramatizes the issues that can preclude understanding.”
—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A strong successor to her Pulitzer-nominated The Moor’s Account, The Other Americans is a study of race in the wake of the War on Terror intertwined deftly with a love story and the dissection of a family dynamic, in which every character, like the young Moroccan acrobats, contributes an essential part of the whole.”
—The Herald (Scotland)

“This deft, direct and absorbing story benefits from the craft Lalami brings to the English language… this haunting story also puts the reader in mind of Toni Morrison’s prescient observation: “Much of the alarm hovering at the borders, the gates, is stoked, it seems to me, by … an uneasy relationship with our own foreignness, our own rapidly disintegrating sense of belonging.””

“Lalami’s crisp, straightforward prose offers the perfect counterpoint to the complexity of her plot, which artfully interweaves past and present…The Other Americans also addresses a multitude of other issues—immigration, prejudice, post-traumatic stress, love and murder—with what can only be described as magical finesse.”
—BookPage (starred review)

“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.’”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Lalami’s powerful third novel, after 2014’s Pulitzer Prize finalist The Moor’s Account, uses nine narrators to probe the schisms of American community….In a narrative that succeeds as mystery and love story, family and character study, Lalami captures the complex ways humans can be strangers not just outside their “tribes” but within them, as well as to themselves.”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Lalami impressively conducts this chorus of flawed yet graceful human beings to mellifluous effect…An eloquent reminder that frame of reference is everything when defining the ‘other.'”
—Booklist (starred review)

“This is a rich and deeply satisfying novel, part-mystery, part-love story, that explores the experience of Arab migrants in the United States as well as the complexity of romantic and family relationships.”
—Australian Financial Review

“In gentle and stylish prose, Lalami gives us a picture of life as a Muslim immigrant in the USA, a glimpse of the trauma suffered by veterans of war in the Middle East and an account of family stresses familiar in all cultures and countries. It is a most impressive novel.”
—Literary Review

“A timely, and more importantly, a vivid, often searing examination of the lives, attitudes, and emotional baggage of immigrants and Americans in a small California town.”
—NY Journal of Books

“Ultimately, the novel is engrossing. Its structure so mirrors the quiet power of oral histories that one wonders who these characters are addressing. The answer may be other Americans. For a book that is fully aware of the extent that the United States can disappoint the people who live here, it doesn’t come off as grim, perhaps because it offers a pathway out of estrangement. The novel finds hope in stories—sharing them, receiving them, and creating them. After all, it is only through the multitude of perspectives that the reader can create a cohesive picture surrounding the death of Driss Gerreaoui. It is also how the characters find meaning in their own personal histories, begin to establish intimacy with one another, and build a space that may allow them to heal. It’s what makes people feel less “other” and a little more united.”
—AV Club

“Laila Lalami possesses the kind of effortless talent that makes writing seem easy. But few can match her ability to convey a substantial story so simply…. It’s a mixture of mystery and literature both, this moving exploration of immigration, community, and identity, and I can’t stop thinking about it. The Other Americans is the work of a master at the top of her game!”
—Powells Books, staff pick.

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Starred Reviews in:

  • Kirkus
  • Publisher’s Weekly
  • Booklist
  • BookPage