the other americans

I don’t really understand this novel. the other americans is a clear immigrants life tale in a modern America i.e. how they handle racism, distrust, and family drama in a country so strange from their own.

Here’s the plot: a young woman’s father is killed in a hit and run. He’s Moroccan and he’s been racially profiled before, especially after 9/11. She believes it isn’t just a hit and run.

As an avid reader I expected it to turn into a little bit of mystery, maybe with a twist ending! Shocker, the killer isn’t who they think it is! This is true, but it’s neither exciting nor compelling.

The book jumps between so many perspectives there’s about 20,000 too many words. Words that could have been used better. Here’s an average chapter: character does something, remembers a flashback for 2/3rds of the chapter that builds their background, end chapter. Every character does this several times. Even the guy who died. And the most interesting questions don’t really get answered. Did Salma deal with her drug problem? Did they sell the shop? Did the Mexican immigrant who saw the accident get deported, the fear he expressed multiple times about coming forward?

All are unclear. The novel just ends. Wrapped up neatly with no wrestling with the underside morality.

The writing is great, the story is just not there.

1 1/2 out of 4 stars

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