Once in a Promised Land

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Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby

Book description
Once in a Promised Land is the story of Jassim and Salwa, who left the deserts of their native Jordan for those of Arizona, each chasing mirages of opportunity and freedom. Although the couple live far from Ground Zero, they cannot escape the dust cloud of paranoia settling over the nation.
A hydrologist, Jassim believes passionately in his mission to make water accessible to all people, but his work is threatened by an FBI witch hunt for domestic terrorists. A Palestinian now twice displaced, Salwa embraces the American dream. She grapples to put down roots in an unwelcoming climate, becoming pregnant against her husband’s wishes.
When Jassim kills a teenage boy in a terrible accident and Salwa becomes hopelessly entangled with a shadowy young American, their tenuous lives in exile and their fragile marriage begin to unravel. Once in a Promised Land is a dramatic an achingly honest look at what it means to straddle cultures, to be viewed with suspicion, and to struggle to find safe haven. Published in 2007, 338 pages.
Description from book jacket

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Information on the author’s life and works is available through our library’s online resources. Recommended online resources for Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby include Literature Resource Center. Enter your library barcode and then use the author’s name or the book title to search for full-text encyclopedia or magazine articles.

Discussion questions
Once in a Promised Land discussion questions from the publisher

Additional information
Laila Halaby’s website
Collected reviews of Once in a Promised Land from powells.com

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