Customer Reviews for

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    Satisfyingly quick read

    This isn't a large book in any sense of the word, however, it left me with a lot to consider. Don't miss this read.

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  • Posted June 24, 2009

    A novel in short stories

    I love this book. I felt like I learned things about Morocco, a place I've never been. The stories were fulfilling on their own and more fulfilling connected to the first story. I applaud Laila Lalami.

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful Gift

    I recently received HOPE AND OTHER DANGEROUS PURSUITS by Laila Lalami as a gift. Lalami shares modern Morocco though interconnecting profiles and the compelling journeys of her characters will intrigue and draw you to them. These fictional characters are very much alive. This remarkable book is a beautiful gift to receive.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2005

    An Auspicious Debut

    So many of us know Laila Lalami through her blog, Moorishgirl.com, which reflects her Moroccan roots by often covering¿and confronting¿literary news relating to the ¿other¿ in our society. Specifically, Lalami has accorded non-Christian and non-white writers the kind of respect and analysis not usually offered in the ¿mainstream¿ press or even most blogs, for that matter. If this were Lalami¿s sole contribution to the literary world, she would have much of which to be proud. But now she brings us her first book, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill), a collection of interlocking stories, which also reflects her connections to Morocco. The structure of Lalami¿s collection is as elegant as it is powerful. The title story, ¿The Trip,¿ serves as a prologue where she introduces us to the four main characters who will reappear in the eight subsequent stories. It is dark and cold as four Moroccans huddle with twenty-six others in small boat¿a six-meter Zodiac inflatable meant to accommodate eight people¿to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. Their hope: to avoid the watchful eye of the authorities as they travel fourteen kilometers to their haven, Spain. Lalami captures with clear and revealing language the brutality of the smugglers and the desperation of their human cargo. The collection is then divided into two parts. In the first, entitled Before, we see what drove Lalami¿s characters to risk their lives to escape Morocco. In these stories, we see the how desperate circumstances must get before one decides to leave home, perhaps forever. In the second part of the collection (entitled After), we see how the lives of our four protagonists change after their desperate voyage across the Strait of Gibraltar. These stories will surprise the reader. We watch as lives get turned inside out with people doing things that they normally wouldn¿t absent distressed circumstances. And in the end, we don¿t know which is more dangerous: the weary acceptance of poverty and brutality or the hope-driven risks people take to make life worth the effort. Lalami wisely doesn¿t offer any answers. Rather, she gives us potent and perfectly-crafted portraits of those who both battle and embrace hope. And she lets us know that the lives of undocumented immigrants can¿t be painted with one, broad stroke their lives are as varied as anyone else¿s. What an auspicious debut this is. One hopes that Lalami will be telling her stories for many years to come. [The full version of this review first appeared in the literary blog, rockslinga.]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2009

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    Posted April 22, 2009

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    Posted August 4, 2010

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