LAILA HALABY ONCE IN A PROMISED LAND PDF

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. 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 and achingly honest look at what it means to straddle cultures, to be viewed with suspicion, and to struggle to find safe haven.

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Amazon In the aftermath of the Sept. In her second novel, Once in a Promised Land, Jordanian-American author Laila Halaby takes readers back to that time when American flags fluttered from car antennas and people were either with us or against us.

Jassim and Salwa Haddad live comfortably with well-paying jobs, fancy cars and more space and privacy than they ever had in Jordan. Jassim is a water lover, a hydrologist whose passion is preservation and whose religion is a regular morning swim "Jassim did not believe in God, but he did believe in Balance," Halaby explains.

Salwa is a banker and real estate agent with a taste for luxury. Her family nicknames her Queen of Pajamas because of her obsession with silky sleepwear.

But their place in the world is tenuous, and their lives begin to unravel from pressures outside and inside themselves. However acclimated they are to American life, Jassim and Salwa are foreigners in a land now hostile to people who look like they do.

As their American dream life is pulled out from under them, Salwa decides their adopted country is too crass and corrupt to live there anymore. Halaby describes her realization: "All those years of schizophrenic reaction to American culture, disdain for the superficial, which she had buried with each new purchase and promotion, Their marriage suffers from a series of tragic events, cover-ups and lies.

Salwa hides a pregnancy because Jassim does not want children, and she continues to keep it secret when she miscarries. In a depression, she launches into an affair with an untrustworthy co-worker. Jassim hits a teenage boy with his car. These characters have a big hand in making their lives as unlivable as they become.

In a way, theirs is an American story of a strained, two-career marriage where both partners look elsewhere for comfort and understanding. He is distraught over killing the boy, and co-workers misinterpret his strange behavior and report him to the FBI. The book works best when Halaby is describing an overzealous government and citizenry fueled by paranoia and a desire for quick action, though some of the suspecting people, described in the book as right-wing evangelical Christians, come off as one-dimensional villains.

The book fails when Halaby, who studied folklore on a Fulbright scholarship, tries to make the story something bigger, a morality tale about the costs of leaving your homeland, leading a life without purpose and pursing things you are not supposed to have.

What readers do get in Once in a Promised Land is a portrait of a specific marriage and a contemporary period piece that, five years later, feels a little dated.

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Start your review of Once in a Promised Land Write a review Shelves: from-library , read This book was intriguing at first. He grows distant from his wife. Salwa, meanwhile, suffers a miscarriage after intentionally "accidentally" getting pregnant and conducts a brief, confused affair with a much younger coworker. As their This book was intriguing at first.

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Once in a Promised Land

Washington Post 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. 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.

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Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby

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