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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.
Published: Workman eBooks on Oct 7, 2005
ISBN: 9781565127517
List price: $13.00
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I like all her writing, she has a fabulous styleread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This novel reads like a series of short stories about a handful of Moroccan men and women. The characters are connected only by the fact that they boarded the same illegal boat, bound for what they hoped to be a better life in Spain. Lalami's prose is quiet and economical, but able to create characters that are three dimensional. The reader is given a glimpse into their lives, the hardships they encounter and decisions they make, both on the Moroccan and Spanish sides.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is the first book that I've read about modern Morocco by a Moroccan writer and the essay style chapters give a lot of interesting information in not many pages. The theme is heavily pessimistic with corrupt government and unemployment at home, or exploitation should they emigrate (mostly illegaly) to Spain.Living as I do in one of the most popular destinations in Spain for Moroccan immigrants, and only speaking for what I see here, most of them have jobs, are very good humoured, and have recently turned quite strongly religious with all the women wearing headscarves. This doesn't agree with what she says in her book (apart from the new headscarves) and I suspect that she's also unduly downbeat on development in Morocco itself. Neverthless it's a quick read and told me a lot about an unfamiliar society.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Difficult to follow characters throughout book. Pretty much a sad story.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
First time novelist Lalami has written a beautitul story that is surprisingly detailed for a slim novel of 200 pages. It begins with the crossing from Morocco by four protagonists, an abused wife, a fanatical student, a hustler and a husband seeking decent wages by way of the Strait of Gibraltar for a new life in Spain. The pilot refuses to take them all the way where they are tipped into the ocean and forced to swim only to be met by the waiting authorities as they reach the shore. It is here that the story reverses and we meet each character in turn and what led to their decision to flee. The prospect of drowning takes on a symbolic reference as they are people trapped in oppressive lives and cultures. All too often we hear about ‘ illegal immigrants’ and the author has succeeded in giving a human face to her characters where governments always refer to them as illegal in a political construct. Sadly it is the case that for many who choose this option it remains but a dream and ultimately a dangerous pursuit.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Though set in Morocco, not Mexico, and the body of water crossed is the Mediterranean, not the Rio Grande, the stories of the desperate immigrants told in this book are eerily similar to those of many new Texans. The writing is lovely and the stories are captivating.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This young Moroccan-born writer has produced a wonderful debut collection of short stories, set in modern-day Morocco, and Spain. The first half of the book depicts various characters in Morocco who dream of a better life in Spain, just across the Strait of Gibraltar, not even 14 km across the waters. The second half encapsulates the lives of those who have already managed to leave, in search of a better life on the other side, with unfortunately less than desirable results.Lailami provided an authentic voice, detailing the issues young people currently face in the Arab/Muslim world, which I enjoyed. The stories show the lengths people will go to, to secure a better life for themselves and their families, and the challenges Arabs and North Africans face when entering European/ Western countries. The mood throughout the slim volume is gray, and a spurt of color would have been welcome to break the cheerlessness. That said, Lalami is a great writer and the book is a quick worthwhile read. I’d definitely read more by Lalami given the chance.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I had higher hopes for this book but was gravely disappointed in it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Nice, sweet book about a tough theme. This novel deals with illegal immigration from Africa into the European Union. It follows four immigrants from Morocco before, during and after their attempt to reach Spain in a tiny boat. It's a heavy subject, but the stories of these four are told in a distant, not too emotional tone, and remain human, personal instead of political. As the political debate surrounding this theme is usually aggressive, emotional and distant, dealing with numbers rather than with persons, and with cultural or religious groups rather than with individuals, it is refreshing to read a book like this one. It is not exceptionally good in a literary way, or thought provoking. Each of the characters in the book deserves more attention, more than can be given to them in the short story like style that Lalami uses. Therefore it isn't one of the books that just strike me like lightning, and that I will still remember five years from now, but still, it was a pleasant and interesting read. Worthwhile.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I liked this book well enough. It wasn't what I had expected after the first chapter. The stories were interesting. I liked how the book was divided into two parts; the story of before they decided to immigrate and then the story of what happened to them after they arrived. It was very well written, but nothing to jump for joy about. I liked the different take on immigration. I am used to reading books about people immigrating to the US, so this was a nice change.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

I like all her writing, she has a fabulous style
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This novel reads like a series of short stories about a handful of Moroccan men and women. The characters are connected only by the fact that they boarded the same illegal boat, bound for what they hoped to be a better life in Spain. Lalami's prose is quiet and economical, but able to create characters that are three dimensional. The reader is given a glimpse into their lives, the hardships they encounter and decisions they make, both on the Moroccan and Spanish sides.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is the first book that I've read about modern Morocco by a Moroccan writer and the essay style chapters give a lot of interesting information in not many pages. The theme is heavily pessimistic with corrupt government and unemployment at home, or exploitation should they emigrate (mostly illegaly) to Spain.Living as I do in one of the most popular destinations in Spain for Moroccan immigrants, and only speaking for what I see here, most of them have jobs, are very good humoured, and have recently turned quite strongly religious with all the women wearing headscarves. This doesn't agree with what she says in her book (apart from the new headscarves) and I suspect that she's also unduly downbeat on development in Morocco itself. Neverthless it's a quick read and told me a lot about an unfamiliar society.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Difficult to follow characters throughout book. Pretty much a sad story.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
First time novelist Lalami has written a beautitul story that is surprisingly detailed for a slim novel of 200 pages. It begins with the crossing from Morocco by four protagonists, an abused wife, a fanatical student, a hustler and a husband seeking decent wages by way of the Strait of Gibraltar for a new life in Spain. The pilot refuses to take them all the way where they are tipped into the ocean and forced to swim only to be met by the waiting authorities as they reach the shore. It is here that the story reverses and we meet each character in turn and what led to their decision to flee. The prospect of drowning takes on a symbolic reference as they are people trapped in oppressive lives and cultures. All too often we hear about ‘ illegal immigrants’ and the author has succeeded in giving a human face to her characters where governments always refer to them as illegal in a political construct. Sadly it is the case that for many who choose this option it remains but a dream and ultimately a dangerous pursuit.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Though set in Morocco, not Mexico, and the body of water crossed is the Mediterranean, not the Rio Grande, the stories of the desperate immigrants told in this book are eerily similar to those of many new Texans. The writing is lovely and the stories are captivating.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This young Moroccan-born writer has produced a wonderful debut collection of short stories, set in modern-day Morocco, and Spain. The first half of the book depicts various characters in Morocco who dream of a better life in Spain, just across the Strait of Gibraltar, not even 14 km across the waters. The second half encapsulates the lives of those who have already managed to leave, in search of a better life on the other side, with unfortunately less than desirable results.Lailami provided an authentic voice, detailing the issues young people currently face in the Arab/Muslim world, which I enjoyed. The stories show the lengths people will go to, to secure a better life for themselves and their families, and the challenges Arabs and North Africans face when entering European/ Western countries. The mood throughout the slim volume is gray, and a spurt of color would have been welcome to break the cheerlessness. That said, Lalami is a great writer and the book is a quick worthwhile read. I’d definitely read more by Lalami given the chance.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I had higher hopes for this book but was gravely disappointed in it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Nice, sweet book about a tough theme. This novel deals with illegal immigration from Africa into the European Union. It follows four immigrants from Morocco before, during and after their attempt to reach Spain in a tiny boat. It's a heavy subject, but the stories of these four are told in a distant, not too emotional tone, and remain human, personal instead of political. As the political debate surrounding this theme is usually aggressive, emotional and distant, dealing with numbers rather than with persons, and with cultural or religious groups rather than with individuals, it is refreshing to read a book like this one. It is not exceptionally good in a literary way, or thought provoking. Each of the characters in the book deserves more attention, more than can be given to them in the short story like style that Lalami uses. Therefore it isn't one of the books that just strike me like lightning, and that I will still remember five years from now, but still, it was a pleasant and interesting read. Worthwhile.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I liked this book well enough. It wasn't what I had expected after the first chapter. The stories were interesting. I liked how the book was divided into two parts; the story of before they decided to immigrate and then the story of what happened to them after they arrived. It was very well written, but nothing to jump for joy about. I liked the different take on immigration. I am used to reading books about people immigrating to the US, so this was a nice change.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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