The Los Angeles Times Book Club has selected “The Other Americans” as its next book and hosts a July 30 conversation with author Laila Lalami at the Skirball Cultural Center.
The novel is a mystery and family drama that unfolds in a Southern California desert town after a Moroccan immigrant is killed by a speeding driver.
Lalami tells the story from alternating points of view — the dead man’s daughter, his widow, a neighbor, the daughter’s friend, the detective on the case and the undocumented immigrant who witnesses the hit-and-run but fears going to the police.
“ ‘The Other Americans’ manages to be many books at once: a gripping literary thriller, a complex love story and a sharp critique of an America wracked by war and hatred, divided against itself, constantly near a breaking point,” says Michael Schaub in a Times review.
“Lalami succeeds admirably on all fronts: The novel is intricately plotted, up to its shocking but unforced end.”
“The Other Americans” is Lalami’s fourth book. Born in Rabat, Morocco, she lives in Los Angeles and teaches creative writing at UC Riverside. Her previous books are “Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits,” a 2005 short story collection; “Secret Son,” a 2009 novel; and “The Moor’s Account,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist for fiction published in 2014.
In a recent Times interview, Lalami said she sees immigration as a timeless theme.
“It’s something that people have written about literally since the dawn of humanity,” she said. “The earliest stories we tell are of immigration and exile and dislocation.”
“The Other Americans” is the second selection of the new Los Angeles Times Book Club, which launched this spring. This past month, the book club read “The Library Book” by Susan Orlean and hosted a community discussion on Tuesday night.
Tickets for the July 30 event with Lalami will be available next week. Sign up for book club news and updates at latimes.com/bookclub.