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Fem Book Club is an introduction to a diverse range of texts by women about women. Through informal conversation about each text we will focus on the manifold experiences of being a woman through different moments in history and across varying communities. It is an opportunity to think about and challenge what it means to be a woman and perhaps undermine any assumed universal experience by looking at how people of colour, transgender and non-binary identifying writers, or those who suffer with mental health issues have vastly different experiences of ‘feminism’ or what it is to be a ‘woman’.
This is a welcoming and safe space. We encourage participation from LGBTI women, men, trans and gender diverse persons and non-binary persons.
During this session of Fem Book Club, we’ll be discussing Laila Lalami’s The Other Americans.
Late one spring night in California, Driss Guerraoui—father, husband, business owner, Moroccan immigrant—is hit and killed by a speeding car. The aftermath of his death brings together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui’s daughter Nora, a jazz composer returning to the small town in the Mojave she thought she’d left for good; her mother, Maryam, who still pines for her life in the old country; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora’s and an Iraqi War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son’s secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself.
As the characters—deeply divided by race, religion, and class—tell their stories, each in their own voice, connections among them emerge. Driss’s family confronts its secrets, a town faces its hypocrisies, and love—messy and unpredictable—is born. Timely, riveting, and unforgettable, The Other Americans is at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.