Hope And Other Stories

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In "Hope", Martin, a gay secondhand bookseller, meets a mate's aunt, a middle-aged carouser who calls herself Hope and who offers him the run of her four-bedroom Georgian flat in Edinburgh's New Town as a substitute for his "shithole in Haymarket Though Martin is stunned by his luck and swiftly plans to use the arrangement to his advantage, the question of who is actually in control begins to trouble the reader. A casual pick-up turns into a stalker, and Martin's feelings for the perfumed Hope become confusing, dredging up a sense of unspecified menace.

When these two storylines collide, they do so spectacularly, the twist in the tale satisfyingly unpredictable, while the tender feelings that Hope inspires in a hardbitten narrator give this story its lovely texture, its humour and humanity. Hird was first noticed in Children of Albion Rovers, an anthology that featured several prominent Scottish writers of the 90s.

Her debut collection, Nail and Other Stories, was published in to some acclaim, and Born Free was shortlisted for the Whitbread first novel award two years later. Hope fulfils the promise shown, demonstrating the energy and brutality of a writer with an uncompromising approach and alluring confidence in her narrative powers, yet the collection does seem to be snared in something of a time warp, redolent of the gritty urban realism that emerged from Scotland in the mids.

If you want to gain a truer understanding of why people cross borders, this book will give it to you. Jun 08, Amy rated it liked it Recommends it for: This book opened my eyes to immigration in Europe. It seemed very similar to Mexican and especially Cuban immigration to the US. For some strange reason, it is comforting to know that other countries face some of the same issues and challenges as the US. I liked the the author's technique of introducing us to the characters in the midst of the trip, and then backtracking to tell us their history, and how they got to that point.

This book read super fast, but I was left wanting to know more about This book opened my eyes to immigration in Europe. This book read super fast, but I was left wanting to know more about each of the characters. Feb 27, Carole rated it liked it. This is the book that Rochester, NY reads for The subject is informative as it regards the lives of men and women struggling to survive in modern Morocco.

The format of short stories describing one critical moment in the lives of four characters, then the past, and later the present is unique. The writing is stark and simple in a good way. I liked the book - I do not love it. May 03, Jes rated it really liked it Shelves: I love the way the stories interweave in this book.

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It's fantastic read, especially if you like seeing things from a different point of view. You have to be able to keep up with stories that start up, leave off, and start up again. Being an avid Stephen King reader, I can do this. Simple, yet powerful and amazing. Feb 18, Jennifer Joukhadar rated it it was amazing Shelves: Incredible book with a very unique structure that serves to tell the stories of its multiple protagonists in all their messy, striving humanity. One of my all-time favorites. Oct 02, Jamila rated it liked it Shelves: In substance there is a lot to work with.

Three Women Share Stories of Hope and Healing After Abortion

The multiplicity of narratives makes this a very rich story, in characters and in themes. But the writing is very simplistic. The lack of style makes it difficult to convey the kind of depth this novel really does have. Sandglass is turned over and now we are following lives of the main characters prior their journey and here the novel becomes sort of collection of short stories.

And these stories are very detailed and very personal portraits of persons with different characters, professions, education, etc. It is a very colorful picture of nowadays Morocco and clash of its traditional and modern faces. And of course cuisine: Indeed you have a sensation of hermetic-incurable-never-ending-no-way-out, sensation so strong that you can feel it in your throat.

Then again sandglass is turned over and now we can see how immigrants live in their new country. Of course those kinds of dreams are often nightmares but it is incredible how people can find consolation and be satisfied. Naturally new life will change them but while some changes are expectable no one would gladly accept to leave horse and ride donkey again some changes are so drastic that I had to double check if that is the same person. This is a story about their hope which helps them to stay alive. Aug 30, Joslyn Allen rated it really liked it Shelves: 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 a Review from https: Lalami speaks of political oppression, religious fervor, domestic abuse, and the dream of opportunity. And just as each of these four emigres has a different reason to flee, so do they each have a dramatically different future ahead of them. Its lightness, however, is deceptive. His only daughter, dressed like some ignorant peasant! No, she wanted the accoutrements of the new breed of Muslim Brothers: She would look like those rabble-rousers you see on live news channels, eyes darting, mouths agape, fists raised.

But, he tried to tell himself, maybe this was just a fleeting interest, maybe it would all go away. After all, Noura had had other infatuations. Lalami presents stories, humanizes a culture and country with which many westerners are unfamiliar. Her characters, like their country and their relationships, are flawed; their hopes and dreams, like many hopes and dreams, are imperfect. Laila Lalami has written a story not just about her home country, but about the vitality and essentialness of hope.

I know Laila from her blog. So I know this is her first book and I know the steps she has taken to get here, but even so, as I read this book, it was difficult to believe that it was a debut. The writing, to me, seems incredibly seasoned--clean, efficient, evocative. Essentially, I forgot that this was Laila writing within the first few words and, instead, fell into the world as it was written. The protagonists of these stories are Moroccans looking for a different I would say better life but I'm not sure that's true--many of them, though anxious to get across the Strait of Gibraltar, are fearful of what life on the other side will hold life in Spain.

Ironically, the one person who actually makes it without being deported back to Morocco, does so at great personal expense. She makes her living as a protitute, leaving behind her morals and beliefs. She is, essentially, lost. My favorite character is Halima, who tries to leave Morocco in order to save herself and her children from her husband.

Instead, she almost loses everything, except that her young son saves the family from drowning in the frigid waters. It is because of this that she believes he may be special, but the truth is that it is she and her enduring hope which make her the special one--the survivor, the saint. The book ends with another favorite character, Murad, the scholar, the writer. It is from him, the storyteller, that we learn the essence of this book: His father started every story with "Kan, ya ma kan," "Once there was and there was not. It is that sense of rebirth, creation, crawling from the water into a new world that proves itself unreal, only to be sent back and to begin again--to forget and to remember, but to always be present and to always hope, no matter what the consequences.

And what we learn is that this book is not only about Moroccans looking to escape to a different life, but about all of us who have hopes, who wish to overcome. Jun 20, Myfanwy rated it it was amazing. Enjoyable, enlightening--but undeniably, unfortunately, slight. There's no getting around it.

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For all that I found the book fascinating, genuine, elucidating, it's less a novel than a series of character sketches. Not a collection of short stories, as I've seen it advertised--maybe this was a publishing ploy, so that Secret Son could be tagged as Lalami's "first" novel--all the events in Hope depend on the one central unifying catalyst depicted in the prologue; and none of the "stories" or chap Enjoyable, enlightening--but undeniably, unfortunately, slight.

Not a collection of short stories, as I've seen it advertised--maybe this was a publishing ploy, so that Secret Son could be tagged as Lalami's "first" novel--all the events in Hope depend on the one central unifying catalyst depicted in the prologue; and none of the "stories" or chapters , except for maybe two, can really be said to amount to much if deprived of the context of the others.

What does that leave us with?

Laila Lalami » About the Book

I have to confess that much of the pleasure I derived from the book was due to the insights into Moroccan life. It's no small thing, to pick up a few words of Arabic insha'llah , niyyah , salamtek. To learn what beghrir, rghaif, sesame shebbakiya, pastilla, and millefeuilles are. I'm embarrassed to admit that, previously, I didn't know that Eid marked the end of Ramadan. Aziz and Murad's ambitions are too similar both live with their mothers; one's a wastrel, the other's an aspiring writer.

Halima's "Before" chapter is my second favorite in the book she's an incredibly sympathetic character, and the one whose motivation for wanting to reach Spain feels most tangible , but her "After" ends prematurely, just as this business with her son the miracle worker really starts to intrigue. Faten's "Before" is probably my favorite of the bunch, but in it, ironically, she's an ancillary character, and thus there's a lot of perfunctory catch-up to get through in her "After," resulting in a certain clunkiness of execution that doesn't help her situation, her status as resident odalisque in a brothel, to seem less than what it is: It's an age-old maxim in storytelling that it's better to err on the side of too little rather than too much.

Hope is the rare exception. Each character compels and engages; but when the book's finished, the reader can only feel disappointment that we hardly knew them at all. Dec 01, Grace Proper rated it it was amazing.

Laila Lalami

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami presents extraordinary and heart touching stories of different people in Morocco that have fled for a better life in Spain. Each story has a different reason why they have decided to leave Morocco but by the beginning of their journeys to Spain they all are on the same boat together.


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As the person is taking them over on the boat he cuts them off a little too short and expects them to jump the boat and swim the rest of the what. E Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami presents extraordinary and heart touching stories of different people in Morocco that have fled for a better life in Spain.

Each character in the stories goes through a major set back in their lives that led them into making this decision to leave Morocco. A friend of mine had a science degree and several years of teaching experience, but her continued unemployment triggered a long-lasting depression.

Hope springs infernal

Many people had begun to look at immigration as a magical solution. As I started to research this subject, I learned about illegal immigration—what it represents, how it works, who benefits from it. I had been writing fiction for many years, and I thought that the answers to my questions might lie in creating a story about a group of harragas. I set the action on a lifeboat, at sea, in the middle of the night. The characters grew over the course of several months. It would seem I have nothing in common with my characters, but I could just as easily have been one of them, if the lottery of life had dealt me different numbers—if I had been poor, if I had not found a job.


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This was the gift of writing Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits —spending time with my characters.