Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week!
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In a beautifully rendered work, Alia Malek succeeds in a challenging task: restoring humanity to a community too long buffeted by the vagaries of chauvinism, bias and ignorance. Her book, written with wit, compassion and insight, is at once timeless, in its telling of immigrants in America, and unique, in its exploration of the diversity of the Arab-American community. In the end, A Country Called Amreeka is a stirring story of humor, loss, love and triumph.
— Anthony Shadid, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Night Draws Near: Iraq’s People in the Shadow of America’s War
The stories in this book are clearly told, with warmth and a quick wit, and together form a wonderfully lucid and rational look at 20th century Arab American life. A book like this would be valuable in any era, but particularly now, when we’re just beginning to stumble out of the darkness of eight years of xenophobia and buckshot paranoia, it’s welcome, brave and necessary.
— Dave Eggers, Award winning author of A Hologram for the King, Zeitoun, What is the What, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Alia Malek’s impassioned and harrowing set of profiles of Arab-Americans gives vitality and resonance to a cause that is dear to my heart: fostering cross-cultural understanding and respect. Infectiously readable, the profiles in A Country Called Amreeka add character and texture to the history of the Arab American community, challenging every tired stereotype and giving us new insight into what it means to be an Arab American today. This book gives us the faces behind the names, and tells the story of a community that both enriches and embraces the American fabric. A Country Called Amreeka, and the Americans who inhabit it, are remarkable.
— Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, author of A Leap of Faith: Memoir of an Unexpected Life
A Country Called Amreeka by Alia Malek is great reading for anyone who is interested in the hyphenated American immigrant. The hopes and dreams of ordinary people who have come to the Land of Great Hope are beautifully depicted [and the] lives of [these] people are compelling for their struggles for a better life. The book is engaging and enlightening, impossible to put down."
— Helen Thomas, columnist for Hearst Newspapers
If you’re not an Arab American, then it’s really imperative for you to read this fascinating book. You couldn’t ask for a more informative, engaging, and provocative introduction to millions of our fellow citizens. From football star to soldier, from gay activist to union leader, cheerleader, minister, Democrat, Republican, Christian, Muslim – Alia Malek brings the entire spectrum of Arab America to vivid, three-dimensional life.
— Sam Freedman, author of Jew Vs. Jew and Letters to a Young Journalist
A Country Called Amreeka by Alia Malek is a deeply engaging series of portraits of Arab American lives in a profoundly complicated time. Malek’s compelling ability to imagine and construct perspectives and problems of a wide range of individuals feels intuitively masterful. This should be a textbook across the nation — even the most reluctant readers will (hopefully) be enlarged, their stereotypes neutralized.
— Naomi Shihab Nye, author of HABIBI
Alia Malek’s A Country Called Amreeka is a unique, engaging portrayal of Arab American lives. Malek deftly combines the genres of biography, history, memoir, and commentary to produce a story of Arab Americans that is nearly impossible to put down. Malek takes the reader on multiple journeys, from the Arab World to the American heartland, all the while introducing us to lovable, quirky, diverse characters who all have in common a desire to find comfortable spaces in “Amreeka.” Malek does not romanticize or vilify Arab Americans. She presents them in all their complex life ways and worldviews. The result is a book of great imagination and unusual depth.
— Steven Salaita, author of Anti-Arab Racism in the USA and The Uncultured Wars