by Rana Asfour
As is it’s a time when we’re all thinking of beginnings, past & present, I thought it only right to start the year with the book that in a way launched Laila Lalami’s stellar award-winning writing career. "Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits" is also a novel about people in search of a better future & paints a picture of modern-day Morocco.
Published by Harcourt Books in 2005 & just under 200 pages, the novel takes off with a gripping first paragraph:
Fourteen kilometers. Murad has pondered that number hundreds of times in the last year, trying to decide whether the risk was worth it. Some days he told himself that the distance was nothing, a brief inconvenience, that the crossing would take as little as thirty minutes if the weather was good. He spent hours thinking about what he would do once he was on the other side, imagining the job, the car, the house. Other days, he could think only about the coast guards, the ice-cold water, the money he’d have to borrow, and he wondered how fourteen kilometers could separate not just two countries but two universes.
What book are you kick starting the year with?