Synopses & Reviews
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
marks the debut of an exciting new voice in fiction. Laila Lalami evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger?
There's Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who's been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who's fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future.
Sensitively written with beauty and boldness, this is a gripping book about what propels people to risk their lives in search of a better future.
"This intense portrait of a gorgeous, once-powerful civilization stands in stark relief to the modern society Lalami skillfully depicts with gritty realism...impressive: This could well be the preamble to an important body of work." Kirkus Reviews
"Lalami's story lines are evocative, her characters arresting, the settings vivid, and her voice pure and penetrating, ensuring that these striking tales of unsanctioned journeys and urgently improvised lives are at once timely and timeless." Booklist
"With subtlety and grace the author explores the emotional complexities of the culture they're trying to escape one that bears more resemblance to ours than we may imagine." People
"Lalami's characters are believable, sympathetic, and quite ordinary, nurturing hopes and dreams of a better life in the face of harsh conditions. An eloquent, fascinating glimpse into Moroccan culture and traditions, this debut is highly recommended." Library Journal
"Lalami's debut novel is an absolute treasure. With realistic, clear, wonderful writing, she fully explores her characters flaws, strengths, and all." Elizabeth Quinn, BUST
"Laila Lalami's compelling work of fiction provides an anatomy of hope and struggle. Building with quiet urgency, these tales gradually transform into the story of a nation and a profound moment in history." Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Crescent and The Language of Baklava
"Lalami writes in a style both pragmatic and poetic, with romance and the human condition coiled together.
An excellent book." Whitney Otto, author of How to Make an American Quilt
"A dream of a debut, by turns troubling and glorious, angry and wise. With her spare elegant prose Lalami has constructed a world remarkable for its resilience, its vibrancy, its motion, and yes, its hope." Junot Diaz, author of Drown
"With spare prose and superb characterization, these tales of determined struggle command fierce credibility and irresistible empathy....This is an unexpected and enthralling read from a promising new voice." Boldtype
In this debut of an exciting new voice in fiction, Lalami evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco. The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven them to risk their lives?
About the Author
Laila Lalami was born in Rabat, Morocco and was educated in Morocco, Britain, and the United States.
Her work has appeared in Mizna, the Baltimore Review, the Los Angeles Times, the Independent, the Oregonian, and elsewhere. She is the creator of the popular literary blog Moorishgirl. She lives in Portland, Oregon.