Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

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Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
Author Laila Lalami
Country Morocco
Language English
Genre Novel
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publication date
October 7, 2005
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
ISBN 1-56512-493-6 (hardback edition)
OCLC 59881995
813/.6 22
LC Class PS3612.A543 H68 2005

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits is a 2005 novel by Moroccan American author Laila Lalami. First published in the United States, it offers a wider view of the immigration phenomenon from North Africa to Europe. The novel was inspired by a story that Lalami read in Le Monde.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

A group of young Moroccan immigrants seeking a better life in Spain cross the Strait of Gibraltar on a lifeboat. When it capsizes near shore, it is everyone for themselves. The book then chronicles the lives of four of the passengers, Murad, Halima, Aziz and Faten, exploring their lives before the trip and what motivated their attempt at immigration.


The novel sets up an empathy for the situations which create the need for migration; as critic Lisa Marchi points out, the novel "highlights the economic precarity, social invisibility, and indisputable vulnerability of the migrants".[1]

The novel also complicates the nature of the "Muslim" identity of many of these immigrants.[2]


When describing the novel, critic Lisa Marchi said it's "wisely constructed: the writer confidently travels between temporal settings and geographical zones to gradually unveil the genealogy of each character’s migratory project".[1]


  1. ^ a b c Marchi, Lisa (2014). "Ghosts, Guests, Hosts: Rethinking "Illegal" Migration and Hospitality Through Arab Diasporic Literature". Comparative Literature Studies. 51 (4): 603–626. ISSN 1528-4212. 
  2. ^ Morley, Catherine. "Plotting Against America: 9/11 and the Spectacle of Terror in Contemporary American Fiction" (PDF). Gramma/Γράμμα: Journal of Theory and Criticism. 08: 294–312. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-16. 

Further reading[edit]