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Laila Lalami’s 'Other Americans' Explores Complexity of Immigrant Experience

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Petitioners from all over the world listen to speakers as the ceremony begins during a naturalization ceremony at the Lowell Auditorium where 633 immigrants became US citizens on January 22, 2019 in Lowell, Massachusetts.  (Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images)

“America embraces me with one arm, but it pushes me away with the other,” Laila Lalami wrote in a 2017 essay after President Trump instituted the ban on visitors from majority-Muslim countries. Lalami’s new novel, “The Other Americans,” opens with the hit-and-run killing of Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant living in present-day Southern California. Nine narrators unfold Driss’ story, each offering a different perspective on ethnicity and immigration. Lalami joins us to talk about her writing and what it means to be an immigrant in the U.S. We want to hear from you, if you’re an immigrant, what kind of mixed messages does the U.S. send you?


Laila Lalami, author, "The Other Americans"; Pulitzer Prize-finalist for "The Moor's Account"


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