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The Other Americans

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  10,750 ratings  ·  1,377 reviews
National Book Award finalist
Kirkus Prize finalist
Aspen Literary Prize longlist
A Best Book of 2019: NPR, Time, Variety, Bookpage, NYPL
A Washington Post notable book
A Los Angeles Times bestseller

From the Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Moor's Account, here is a timely and powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant--at once a family saga, a
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Pantheon Books
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Jordan Also, what happened to the family of Hispanic immigrants? Did they get their reward, and how did they use it? Was he deported? Are we also to assume t…moreAlso, what happened to the family of Hispanic immigrants? Did they get their reward, and how did they use it? Was he deported? Are we also to assume that Nora's first child mentioned in the last chapter is supposed to be Jeremy's? Did they get married? The book was so good, but I was very disappointed by the vagueness of the ending. Did Nora and Salma get another intimate moment? Where did Nora live? What happened to the restaurant? The cabin? Coleman's child and husband? How did Nora's festival go? So many loose ends! (less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,750 ratings  ·  1,377 reviews

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Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Remarkable, timely novel. Impeccably written story about a hit and run, a family that must grapple with their grief as they try to make sense of why they’ve lost Driss, the patriarch, and the slowly unraveling mystery of who is responsible for the unthinkable. I love the depth of character here for Nora and Jeremy. The narrative is good from many points of view but theirs is the heart of this story and what a beautiful beating heart it is.
chai ♡
find this review & others on my blog

Growing up in this town, I had long ago learned that the savagery of a man named Mohammed was rarely questioned, but his humanity always had to be proven.

The hit-and-run killing of Driss Guerraoui echoed through his daughter’s mind with the vitality of a heartbeat. The pain of it in her breastbone is goading her to seek answers, and it was a tether that held her to the small Mojave Desert town. But the more Nora tries, the further her hopes sink,
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Laila Lalami is gradually becoming one of the writers I am definitely going to follow. Her writing style and character development is exquisite and absolutely to my liking. The Other Americans does not belong to the page-turner category, but for me it was!! I could not put down this novel revolving around a seemingly hit-and-run fatal accident in which a Moroccan immigrant is killed. Driss and his family left Morocco many years ago escaping political persecution, and, though with difficulty, the ...more
Elyse  Walters
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
.....Men speaking in hushed voices in the mortuary
.....An ingredient was always missing, but way too many different types of milk in America. ( I agree)....
.....Maryam, ( widow), had to leave many Moroccan traditions behind. And the more that time passed....the more they mattered to her.....even in death.
....the funeral seemed wrong to Maryam.
....Nora, A STAND OUT CHARACTER, a jazz composer, youngest daughter, ( her father’s favorite, and allied), was often criticized as a child growing up by b
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
Now a Finalist for the National Book Award 2019
Now THAT is what I call a page-turner! Lalami's polyphonic novel revolves around the death of a Moroccan immigrant who got hit by a car in front of his restaurant - was this an accident and the driver (who fled the scene) didn't see his victim because it was already dark, or did he intentionally kill the man? For me, the appeal of the story lies in the changing points of view, as every chapter is told from a different perspective: The main protagoni
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
I expected more from this because I SO loved Lalami’s last book, The Moor's Account. I thought that was just brilliant. This is something completely different, a lackluster combination of domestic drama, light suspense, romance and immigration/cultural issues. Being neither one thing nor another didn’t work for me. Additionally, Lalami has a good-sized group of rotating narrators who take turns unfolding the story in short chapters. None of the personalities struck a chord with me; in fact, they ...more
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating 3.75

One story told from alternating view points. A family moved here long ago from Morocco and has two daughters. They are different, look different, eat different things, etc. The father opens a diner and one night, late at the dinner, he is struck by a car and killed. A hit and run. This tells his story but it's also more the story of family and daily lives of these characters and the people that come into their lives.

I liked this one but at one point it started to drag just a bit. It
This is a gorgeous novel, so richly layered and beautifully written.

Our heroine is Nora, who returns to her hometown when her father, Driss, is killed in a suspicious accident. Each chapter is told from a different character's perspective, so we get to meet Nora's family, including her judgmental mother and her bitter sister, and also Jeremy, one of Nora's friends from high school who still has a crush on her.

There are other characters who also get to talk, but I'll let the reader discover thos
Anna Luce
★★✰✰✰ 2.5 stars (rounded down)

I'm really disappointed by this book. It tells a predictable and unevenly paced story which focuses on flat stereotypes whose different point of views merge into one indistinguishable passive voice.
Not a bad novel but...far from good.
If you haven't read novels similar to this one you might be able to look past its cliches and its poorly orchestrated narrative.

Initially I thought that this book was doing something similar to Everything Here Is Beautiful wh
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A timely page-turner about a Moroccan family reunited by the death of their patriarch, Driss Guerraoui, a father who immigrated to the United States in search of a safer life. Nora, the younger of his two daughters and a jazz composer, returns home upon hearing about how her father died in a car accident. There, in Mojave, California, she reconnects with her mother, a woman who years for the life she had before immigrating, and her sister, Salma, a successful dentist envious of how her father fa ...more
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
The title – The Other Americans – provides an undeniable clue as to what Laila Lalami wants to achieve in this, her third novel. The hit-and-run death of Moroccan diner owner Driss Guerraoui, creating seismic waves that introduce us to a cast of characters with his single daughter, Nora, a struggling composer at the center of it.

All the main characters are American outsiders – the Moroccan Guerraoi family (Driss, his wife Maryam, Nora, and her sister Salma), a traumatized Iraqi veteran Jeremy wh
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Moroccan immigrant is killled by a bit and run driver. The fact that he’s an immigrant is crucial to this story. There he was trying to mind his own business stepping off the curb after closing his shop. Why him? Did he do something to deserve this? Does he have enemies in this post 9/11 time? His family is astounded and overcome with grief. At first they have no answers. Each character has a chance to not only express their reactions but to travel back in time looking for clues and understand ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moroccan-American novelist Leila Lalami is a multiple award-winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist; here, she has essentially written a story exploring the secrets families keep and the diverse, multicultural cast were a joy to behold. However, my primary issue was the ever-changing point-of-view switching between about ten different characters which was unnecessarily complicated, and what made it worse was that they each sounded the same and could not be differentiated from one another. Very monoto ...more
Anne Bogel
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
My husband has been pushing me to read the 2014 novel The Moor's Account from Pulitzer Prize-finalist Lalami, but this is the first of her books I've read. The story begins when a Moroccan immigrant is hit and killed by a speeding car not far from his California home. What follows is part procedural, part family saga, part love story, and part American origin story.

I read this on my Kindle, and the plot was complex enough that I strongly suspect I would have been happier reading this on paper, o
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Moroccan-American Lalami explores the issues of immigration, cultural diversity, and white resentment in a small town near Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. The hit-and-run death of Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant causes huge ripples across his family and the community. Who could have done this—and not even stop to help?

Lalami follows the ripples caused by Driss’ death through multiple voices. There is Nora, his youngest daughter who is pursuing music composition
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars: “The Other Americans” Is an interesting read in that it’s billed a bit like a hit and run mystery that has an immigrant story as background. Or is the hit and run mystery the background of an immigrant’s story? This is a character-driven story that provides background for motivation and opinions/beliefs of each character. All the characters feel not only misunderstood but also marginalized. There are Moroccan immigrants, undocumented working immigrants, and a black woman in a male dom ...more
The Other Americans is a multilayered novel. It is all at once a family saga, a mystery, social commentary and a love story. Told from the perspectives of the victim, his immigrant family, neighbors and police, The Other Americans not only provides a clear lense for racial and class tensions, but also allows insight into the burdens our protectors carry. Although the book description focuses on the hit and run accident that claimed the life of patriarch Driss Guerraroui, at the forefront of this ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
The Other Americans was an all round pretty solid read, which missed the mark a little for this reader.

The story hinges around the death of a Moroccan man, Driss, killed in a hit-and-run accident in the U.S., where he had lived for the past few decades with his family. We follow the investigation into his death and the impact it has on his youngest daughter, Nora. The story is told from a number of viewpoints (too many for me - it got a little confusing at times) of key characters in the narrati
switterbug (Betsey)
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My perspective on reading this book is to forgo guessing what is going to happen, or trying to determine how accurate your suspicions. Just dive in and let it gently steal through you. There’s a Who and Why regarding a hit-and-run that resulted in death, which is the ballast of the plot, at least in a pressing sense. The other characters are immediate family or characters connected to the family or incident in some way. “What a fragile thing a heart was. So easy to fool. To break. To stop on imp ...more
Judith E
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
In addition to the regular convoluted family dynamics of adult children, aging parents, and family tragedy, the Guerraoui’s are Moroccan immigrants dealing with all that comes from being an Arab in America. They are labeled as suspicious from the minute their name is pronounced. Their California is a place where hurtful racial slurs continue to be spoken by ignorant people.

I enjoyed the structure of the book in that each chapter was a first person narrative of each character. Their individual c
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans is compulsively readable, carefully plotted, and well paced. Lalami fills it with empathy for her characters, even its least sympathetic and most despicable characters. Although not pollyannish, The Other Americans is the rare current novel that leaves at least this reader feeling somewhat better about today’s United States.

The Other Americans contains few surprises with either its plot or its characters. As you read Lalami’s latest novel, you may not know exac
Katie Long
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Lalami is trying to do a lot here, frankly too much. Islamaphobia, undocumented immigration, treatment of veterans, parental expectation, work/life balance, opioid abuse, gun rights, racism etc... are all brought up over the course of the narrative, but because there are so many issues to explore, none can be examined in any meaningful way. I get that she is going for “this is America now” but what’s the point if we’re only skimming the surface? 2.5 rounded down.
Robert Blumenthal
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I became familiar with Laila Lalami through her writings for The Nation, and I have always thought very highly of her as a writer. I read The Moor's Account and was most impressed by her as a novelist as well. And she knocks it out of the park again in this tale depicting the immigrant experience in these United States and all the highs and lows of such.

The tale revolves around the death of a patriarch in a Moroccan American family living near Joshua Tree National Park in the desert in Southern
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
I freely admit that I came to this book with expectations. Laila Lalami's last novel was a Pulitzer Finalist and I'd had it on my to-read list for a while so when I got my hands on an advance proof copy of her forthcoming book, I was excited to see what kind of writer she is.

This is not literary fiction. It reads kind of like a formulaic genre mystery trying to be something more. Sometimes the prose is nice. But too often it's cringeworthy. If Lalami was trying for genre mystery, I think she mo
Roman Clodia
Solid, straightforward, predictable

"The present could never be untethered from the past, you couldn't understand one without the other."

As is the case with the quotation above, this book tells us things that are true but that are hardly original or novel in any way. Part love story, part excavation of family secrets, the plot is precipitated by the hit and run death of Driss, a Moroccan immigrant to America and the father of Nora, one of the main characters.

It's not hard to see where the whole t
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
There's so much wrong with this book it's not even funny. I'm trying to figure out where all these 5 stars are coming from and if we all read the same book. This was a classic case of the author doing too damn much and not executing it properly. Every issue was completely surface level. Zenophobia, sexism, racism, drug abuse, you name it. It was dumped into this book. I'm always here for a good family saga but this was not it and a complete fail. At the very far background was a "mystery" and if ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lalami is a versatile writer, to follow The Moor’s Account with this shifting POV novel about love, grief, the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and interconnected lives centered on a Moroccan-American family in a small town in the Mojave Desert. The tone is fairly cool and the characters were flawed enough to be annoying at times, but they kept me going.
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads
I accidently deleted this from my books but luckily found I had saved the review,

The family at the center of this novel are Moroccan immigrants to California. They ended up in the Mojave Desert after temporarily living with a family member in LA who sponsored them when the father of the family feared imminent arrest as political upheaval took hold in their country. They moved to the Mojave Desert, where there were opportunities for work, and bought a doughnut shop. After 9/11, it was firebombed
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok

I really wish I could give it more but it just felt like Lalami was trying to do too much, cramming in every pressing theme while not really offering anything interesting in terms of storytelling.
Julia Phillips
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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Laila Lalami was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States. She is the author of four novels, including The Moor's Account, which won the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and The Other Americans, which was a national bestseller and a finalist for the National ...more

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