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“A road trip,” said Alex, sounding hopeful for the first time in a long time. “To see Gramma. We can visit her and then go to the beach. We can rent a cottage in Galveston. We can rent a condo.”

“A condo?” I said, clamping the phone to my ear with my shoulder as I gathered tomatoes in the produce aisle.

“I have some news, Lauren. Can you get away this weekend, so we can talk?”

Good morning, Amanda!

Good morning.  I’m sorry I’m late.  The kids, you know, and I spilled the coffee.  It’s so damn hot.

 

How hot is it there in Austin, Texas?

At present, it is 106.

Morocco is underexplored in English language fiction.Most novels with which American readers are familiar are likely to focus on Anglo foreigners traveling to or settling in the country, such as in The Sheltering Sky or Hideous Kinky.Laila Lalami’s debut novel, Secret Son (Algonquin; paperback March 2010) would have merit, then, if all it did was explore Morocco from the inside out: from the perspective of contemporary Moroccans rather than through an exoticized traveler’s lens.But Lailami, an ambitious and meticulous writer whose terrain is as emotional as it is geographic, achieves much more with this barebones, layered and daringly bleak exploration of one man—Youssef El Mekki—and his progressive defeat within a ruthless system.