Monday, April 20, 2009

"Secret Son"

Laila Lalami was born and raised in Morocco. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship and was short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2006. Her debut collection of short stories, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, was published in the fall of 2005 and has since been translated into Spanish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Norwegian.

She applied “Page 69 Test” to Secret Son, her first novel, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Secret Son contains...a sex scene. I know, how literal of me is that? In the scene, my character Youssef, a university student in Casablanca, has sex with his rich classmate Alia, on whom he's long had a crush. This is a pivotal scene, but I don't think it is quite representative of the content of the novel. In Secret Son, Youssef, who lives with his mother in a slum outside Casablanca, discovers that his entire existence has been a lie--his dead and respectably poor father turns out to be a wealthy businessman who is very much alive. This discovery sets him on a journey to find his father and the truth. An allegory of modern Morocco, Secret Son explores the struggle for identity, the need for love, and the myriad ways in which the political, the personal, and the religious bind us together.
Read an excerpt from Secret Son,and learn more about the novel and author at Laila Lalami's website and blog.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue