In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America--a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record. In 1527 the conquistador Pnfilo de Narvez sailed from the port of Sanlcar de Barrameda with a crew of 600 men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernn Corts.
"Story interesting, performance over-wrought"
In her exciting debut, Laila Lalami evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco and offers an authentic look at the Muslim immigrant experience today. The book begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain.
Youssef el-Mekki, a young man of 19, is living with his mother in the slums of Casablanca when he discovers that the father he believed to be dead is, in fact, alive and eager to befriend and support him. Leaving his mother behind, Youssef assumes a life he could only dream of: a famous and influential father, his own penthouse apartment, and all the luxuries associated with his new status.
"not great literature"
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books began in 1996 with a simple goal: to bring together the people who create books with the people who love to read them. The festival was an immediate success and has become the largest and most prestigious book festival in the country, attracting more than 130,000 book lovers each year.