Secret Son (Paperback)

By Laila Lalami

Algonquin Books, 9781565129795, 320pp.

Publication Date: March 9, 2010

May 2009 Indie Next List

“Laila Lalami has written a wonderfully crafted novel -- set in the slums of Casablanca -- whose carefully wrought characters allow us to lift the veil of media headlines and to gain greater empathy and understanding of the competing protagonists in today's sundered world. Secret Son is an irresistible read.”
— Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books, San Francisco, CA
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Description

Raised by his mother in a one-room house in the slums of Casablanca, Youssef El Mekki has always had big dreams of living another life in another world. Suddenly his dreams are within reach when he discovers that his father--whom he'd been led to believe was dead--is very much alive. A wealthy businessman, he seems eager to give his son a new start. Youssef leaves his mother behind to live a life of luxury, until a reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets and his childhood friends. Trapped once again by his class and painfully aware of the limitations of his prospects, he becomes easy prey for a fringe Islamic group.

In the spirit of The Inheritance of Loss and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Laila Lalami's debut novel looks at the struggle for identity, the need for love and family, and the desperation that grips ordinary lives in a world divided by class, politics, and religion.

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