This is a layered story of a variety of kinds of journeys – from rich to poor, from free to slave, from Spain to the New World – and what power does to those involved on either side of the equation. Lalami’s details are evocative and her ending is completely earned. If the narrator has some of the faults of the wise-child narrator, things don’t become too didactic too often or for too long. She also explores the power of religion, naming, and stories. These stories, or accounts, become central to this well-deserved ending I mentioned. And these narratives so often start with names. From the Bible onward, the ability to name something has been a kind of power. The ability to re-name things here is that power most assuredly corrupted. I can not go so far to say that I found this to be a great book, but it is unlike anything else I’ve read. Lalami paints vivid pictures and asks important questions.

http://lailalalami.com/

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