Author(s): Laila Lalami
There wasn't anything I could do. All I saw was a man falling to the ground. Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters- Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; his widow Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efraan, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, a former classmate of Nora's and now a veteran of the Iraq war; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and Driss himself. As the characters deeply divided by race, religion and class tell their stories in The Other Americans, Driss's family is forced to confront its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies and love, in all its messy and unpredictable forms, is born.