Friday, August 17, 2007

Beyond FICTION: HOPE AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS by Laila Lalami

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits follows the lives of four Moroccans who experience a harrowing attempt to illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain. Details that reveal how each person’s life brought him/her to such a point—and where the crossing ultimately leads—provide a unique perspective on the contemporary Moroccan experience. But Hope also succeeds on another level as it explores universal longings for freedom not only from a specific place and its limitations, but from restrictions experienced—internally as well externally—due to issues of class, gender, religion, language, and cultural heritage. On yet another level, Hope explores how (and why) desperate conditions propel some into deeper despair while leading others to unlikely, surprising redemption.

I discovered Laila Lalami through her fascinating blog (which I will also call MoorishGirl!) when she was posting about her 2005 experiences at the renowned Bread Loaf Writing Conference at Middlebury College in Vermont. Now at the end of a Fulbright Fellowship in Morocco (where she was born and raised), Laila has lived in California and Oregon and will soon return to California to join the Creative Writing department at the University of California, Riverside. She notes that UCR has “the most diverse campus in the UC system” as well as a very strong creative writing department. While she sounds pleased to be headed to UCR, I’m sure everyone there will be doubly pleased to have her.

2 Comments:

Anonymous gerry rosser said...

Thanks for the Lalami tip!

6:38 AM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

You're welcome, Gerry! Her voice is truly unique. K.

9:04 AM  

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