Conditional Citizens

On Belonging in America

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Laila Lalami: Conditional Citizens (2020, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

208 pages

English language

Published Feb. 20, 2020 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

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5 stars (1 review)

3 editions

Review of 'Conditional Citizens' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

From the Pulitzer-shortlisted author of the imagined history of America's first Arab and first Muslim explorer, the Moor's Account, now comes a deeply personal and emotionally powerful account of Professor [a:Laila Lalami|81319|Laila Lalami|]'s own immigration to America from her home in Morocco. [b:Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America|52366322|Conditional Citizens On Belonging in America|Laila Lalami||72398925] opens and closes on notes of hope, beginning with Lalami's joy on the day of her citizenship ceremony, but it is also a story of an abiding love of her country that is not quite requited.

The arc of the story, Lalami's first non-fiction work, portrays vividly a life of both love and alienation arising from being set apart from the presumptive norm of citizenship defined by white male property owners: the legal requirement of full citizenship at the founding of the Republic whose shadow lingers over us to this day. As an immigrant, as a …


  • Naturalization
  • Discrimination
  • United states, emigration and immigration
  • Citizenship