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Once in a Promised Land is the story of Jassim and Salwa, who left the deserts of their native Jordan for those of Arizona, each chasing mirages of opportunity and freedom. Although the couple live far from Ground Zero, they cannot escape the dust cloud of paranoia settling over the nation.

Once in a Promised Land: A Novel - Laila Halaby - Google Книги

A hydrologist, Jassim believes passionately in his mission to make water accessible to all people, but his work is threatened by an FBI witch hunt for domestic terrorists. A Palestinian now twice displaced, Salwa embraces the American dream. When Jassim kills a teenage boy in a terrible accident and Salwa becomes hopelessly entangled with a shadowy young American, their tenuous lives in exile and their fragile marriage begin to unravel.

Once in a Promised Land is a dramatic and achingly honest look at what it means to straddle cultures, to be viewed with suspicion, and to struggle to find safe haven. A BookSense Notable Title for February Once in a Promised Land is the story of a couple, Jassim and Salwa, who left the deserts of their native Jordan for those of Arizona, each chasing their own dreams of opportunity and freedom. Jassim, a hydrologist, believes passionately in his mission to keep the water tables from dropping and make water accessible to all people, but his work is threatened by an FBI witch hunt for domestic terrorists.

Review

When Jassim kills a teenage boy in a terrible accident and Salwa becomes hopelessly entangled with a shady young American, their tenuous lives in exile and their fragile marriage begin to unravel. This intimate account of two parallel lives is an achingly honest look at what it means to straddle cultures, to be viewed with suspicion, and to struggle to find save haven.


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From the Hardcover edition. Sometimes you run out of adjectives. Or the adjectives lose their luster. What if I say that Once in a Promised Land is brilliant, insightful, heartbreaking, enchanting—what does that even mean anymore? But this novel is brilliant because the prose glows, sends off heat. Heartbreaking because you can feel the situation that these characters are trapped in.

Laila Halaby has captured the human condition perfectly here. In this timely and utterly original novel, Laila Halaby has crafted a deeply resonant tale of out tangled and common humanity. Laila Halaby, who still dares to dream of an intact culture, has written a forceful novel that catches innocence and the hope for wholeness in the web of its complex plot and squeezes them until they bleed. She describes complicated, culture-spanning lives in a poetic prose that is clean and compelling.

There is no glossing over pain here, but the power of telling-richly human voices and the redemption of honesty.

Once in a Promised Land

Also by Laila Halaby. Inspired by Your Browsing History. The Woman in the Dunes. The Lost Carousel of Provence.


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Salwa gravitates between wanting to escape America forever, reeling from the sorrow of a miscarriage, forced to confront office paranoia: As both lie staring into the guilty darkness, Salwa gradually comes undone by the affair. Beautifully observed and startlingly real, Halaby manages to say much about the immigrant experience while in the process exposing the darker side of American society, where prejudice and discrimination can often appear where you least expect it, even in the highest echelons of government.

Jassim ends up being undermined by his wife's distractedness and the self-doubt that has begun to plague his marriage, and also by a triumvirate of small-minded office girls who launch a government investigation against him.

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Salwa begins to question the fulfillment that should have automatically have come with "American freedom. Ensnared by those around them and plunged into totally unfamiliar territory, Jassim and Salwa are also blindsided their own lies, bloating everything that exists between them. These are two modern Western people who have their respective worlds turned upside down, set adrift by secrets, dishonesty, and their own inability to communicate their deepest fears to those around them - and in the end, even to each other.