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Laila Lalami Presents “The Other Americans” in Rabat, Novel Tackling Identity and Belonging

Written by FDM

Moroccan-American novelist, Laila Lalami, presented on Monday, July 12 in Rabat, “The other Americans”. A novel telling the bitter story of a USA-based Moroccan family chasing the American dream.

Laila Lalami presented Monday, July 12 in Rabat, her novel “The other Americans” in light of a literary meeting organized by the Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Residing Abroad.

“The Other Americans” draws the portrait of a family of Moroccan origin living in California and mourning the death of its patriarch Driss Guerraoui, brutally hit and killed by a speeding car. This drama gives rise to a police investigation and opens the way to questions about subjects such as migration, identity and belonging.

Speaking at this meeting, the Moroccan-American writer, said she was honored to present this novel which presents “a panoramic view of American society”, with “the life of the immigrant community”.

“The first page of this book calls out to the question of whether this death was the result of an accident or a murder,” she said, detailing the main stages in writing this work. it began in 2014 and was published in the United States in 2019 then translated into French by Editions Bourgois before being reissued and published by Editions Le Fennec in 2020. “The other Americans” contemplates “both the personal dimension and the political one and puts the two in dialogue,” she added, alluding to the various protagonists of the novel who take turns speaking to tell their story. These voices unite and contradict each other to relate their daily life in America today and make the city of California where the events take place the theater of its most buried identity tensions.

Laila Lalami is an English-speaking novelist and professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. In 1991, after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Anglo-Saxon literature from Mohammed V University in Rabat, she joined University College London to continue her master’s studies in linguistics. In 1992, she moved to Los Angeles and obtained a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Southern California. Her first novel, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, published in 2005 has been translated into five languages. Other publications followed, namely “Secret Son” (2009), “The Moor’s Account” (2015) which won the American Book Award, “The other Americans” (2019) and “Conditional citizens ”(2020).

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