The Amazon review (right before it tries to pitch me American Dirt, I mean, really?!) calls this a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, and yeah, that all tracks. The Other Americans starts with and centers on the hit-and-run death of Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant living in California, but the real story is that of his daughter Nora and how it impacts her but there are also chapters from his wife, from Nora’s former classmate-turned-policeman-turned-love-interest, from the detective on the case, from a lot of folks. It’s not an even chapter split, which I liked. Some of these narratives are more important than others.
There were a number of story threads left dangling and that did bother me (the sister, for example. And the police detective and her family. There’s a sideways reference to her in an unrelated chapter that made me go “Huh??” but then there was nothing more afterwards). Nora especially is a deeply relate-able character, flawed, of course, but you understand why she’s coming from where she’s coming from. She’s grieving, deeply, and so unsure of where to turn. Add in that the guy she’s started sleeping with is an Iraq war vet coming to terms with his own PTSD and the way he disassociated to get by during his time overseas and it’s a LOT.
Ultimately a lot of the stories tie back together in a “RACISM BAD” kind of way but also racism bad, so, yeah. It’s a good book, and I understand why it got all the raves it did.