The Coin: A Novel

The Coin: A Novel

by Yasmin Zaher
The Coin: A Novel

The Coin: A Novel

by Yasmin Zaher


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Taut and tender, Yasmin Zaher’s surreal story of identity and home is impossible to look away from.

A bold and unabashed novel about a young Palestinian woman's unraveling as she teaches at a New York City middle school, gets caught up in a scheme reselling Birkin bags, and strives to gain control over her body and mind

The Coin’s narrator is a wealthy Palestinian woman with impeccable style and meticulous hygiene. And yet the ideal self, the ideal life, remains just out of reach: her inheritance is inaccessible, her homeland exists only in her memory, and her attempt to thrive in America seems doomed from the start.

In New York, she strives to put down roots. She teaches at a school for underprivileged boys, where her eccentric methods cross boundaries. She befriends a homeless swindler, and the two participate in an intercontinental scheme reselling Birkin bags.

But America is stifling her—her willfulness, her sexuality, her principles. In an attempt to regain control, she becomes preoccupied with purity, cleanliness, and self-image, all while drawing her students into her obsessions. In an unforgettable denouement, her childhood memories converge with her material and existential statelessness, and the narrator unravels spectacularly.

In enthralling, sensory prose, The Coin explores nature and civilization, beauty and justice, class and belonging—all while resisting easy moralizing. Provocative, wry, and inviting, The Coin marks the arrival of a major new literary voice.

"[A] smart, sneering novel of capital and its consequences . . . In a spiraling, hallucinogenic plot, The Coin draws a dotted line between the narrator’s grandmother’s garden in Palestine and a splatter of excrement on New York City subway tiles; between her grandfather’s birthplace of Bisan—'now a low-income town in Israel, housing mostly Jewish families from Morocco and no Palestinians'—Stokely Carmichael and a Gucci window display appropriating the language of revolution . . . The whiplash feels intentional, funny in an absurdist way, like the narrator’s existential seesawing between jaded American consumerism and the sadness and guilt of displacement . . . The novel’s power is not in cohesion, but in chaos." —Lauren Christensen, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781646222100
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 07/09/2024
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 48,820
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Yasmin Zaher is a Palestinian journalist and writer born in 1991 in Jerusalem. The Coin is her first novel.
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