“A name is precious; it carries inside it a language, a history, a set of traditions, a particular way of looking at the world. Losing it meant losing my ties to all those things too.”
LAILA LALAMI, THE MOOR’S ACCOUNT
Prize-winning novelist (The Moor’s Account, The Other Americans) Laila Lalami’s Conditional Citizens shares her experience as a Moroccan immigrant to create a deeply personal investigation of the place of nonwhites in American culture.
In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Lalami poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm and pushes away with the other.
Lalami was born and raised in Morocco, a place whose past and present permeate her writing. A novelist, short story writer, and essayist, Lalami is a unique and confident voice in the conversations about race and immigration that increasingly occupy our national attention. The Moor’s Account was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and was longlisted for both the Man Booker Prize and the International Dublin Literary Award. The Other Americans was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and won the Simpson Family Literary Prize. She is a regular contributor to publications that include The Nation, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times Magazine.
New York Times, November 2016
My Life as a Muslim in the West’s ‘Gray Zone’, by Laila Lalami
Between the Covers podcast from Tin House
Time Magazine, January 2020
The Complicated Truth About What U.S. Citizenship Means Today, by Laila Lalami
“Consistently thoughtful and incisive, the book confronts the perils of our modern age with truths to inspire the coalition-building necessary to American cultural and democratic survival. A bracingly provocative collection perfect for our times.”