‘The Other Americans’: Book Review


Sophie Brissett, Column Editor

The Other Americans, by Laila Lalami, weaves together a story of murder, romance, adultery, and xenophobia into one novel. Through an alternating narrative Laila Lalami follows the trials of a young girl, Nora Guerraoui, the daughter of a Moroccan immigrant. Nora is challenged with navigating her fathers’ ominous death, controversy with her mother and sister, conflicted feelings towards a former Iraq War veteran, and a desire to be doing more in her life. While this novel delves into heavy topics, like grief in the aftermath of death, it balances the painful moments with redemptive ones without whitewashing the reality of suffering. Trauma is prominent in each character of this novel, but it does not make the book too heavy or weighty to enjoy. Laila Lalami describes what it is like to be an outsider trying to live in a country that does not welcome immigrants, and the deep loneliness that comes with that burden. Through the stories of a wayward daughter, a widowed wife, a haunted soldier, an illegal immigrant, and a stumped investigator, The Other Americans takes its readers on a roller coaster through time and history. They are bound to fall in love with the characters, become invested in the plot, and become unable to put the book down until the story has been resolved.