They say there was or there wasn’t in olden times a story as old as life, as young as this moment, a story that is yours and is mine. Once in a Promised. Once in a Promised Land has ratings and 37 reviews. Ben said: This book was intriguing at first. Halaby creates two rich characters, Jassim and Salwa. Laila Halaby’s intelligent, exquisitely written second novel explores the conflicts of an Arabic Jordanian couple living in America directly after the terrible events.

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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Sometimes you run out of adjectives.

Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. To ask other readers questions about Once in a Promised Landplease sign up. Adam McKay’s gonzo Dick Cheney biopic satire, Vice, won’t be compared to Shakespeare, but it shares the Bard’s disinterest in supervillains’ lanr. Salwa suffers after a miscarriage, Jassim is involved in a deadly car accident and both turn inside themselves instead of Something about the cover made me pick up this book.

She grapples to put down roots in an unwelcoming climate, becoming pregnant against her husband’s wishes. Much of this wonderful book deals with interior monologues of diverse characters, so much z that they vividly come to life. How would you have handled this situation? Jassim, trying to cope with the guilt and shame over taking someone’s life, is at the same time dealing with sudden hostility and suspicions from his co-workers and the scrutiny of the FBI as well.

Very captivating and talks about real life problems that people have when living between two worlds and not finding a “home” in either–nor within themselves. They chanced to meet after the lecture and soon after, properly, got married and moved to America.

A Palestinian now twice displaced, Salwa embraces the American dream. Not wanting to further upset his depressed wife, he doesn’t tell her he killed the teen and struggles alone with the guilt.

Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby

Sometimes you run out of adjectives. There is no glossing over pain here, but the power of telling-richly human voices and the redemption of honesty. I was completely in the characters’ world — Jordanian and American — I was in Tucson, AZ; I was in their cool, clean house; I lai,a in their confused heads.


It all starts out so innocently as Jassim begins his days swimming laps at the local Fitness Bar. The story is very compelling, and the twists make you pay attention and anxiously await the way the characters will pull through.

Mar 13, Belva Rae rated it it was ok. At the same time as their respective families back in Jordan fear the repercussions against Arabs in America, a tragic encounter with a boy on a skateboard triggers an FBI investigation and a release of secret facets within Jassim’s self, sides that have up until now been buried deeply in the way prromised views his life in this country. Click here to learn more about this month’s sponsor!

Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby – PopMatters

This intimate account of two parallel lives is an achingly honest look at what it means to straddle cultures, to be viewed with suspicion, and to struggle to find save haven. I liked the idea of the book, but didn’t connect with it.

The beginning of the affair may have been natural, but thereafter it felt artificial, plot-driven. A Palestinian now twice displaced, Salwa embraces the American dream. Marcus knows that Jassim is the innocent victim of a witch hunt, but lets him go nonetheless. Laila Halaby is an extraordinary storyteller, who artfully builds the Haddads’ world from inside-out, while several subplots flow easily into the over-arching setting. Jul 12, Stephanie rated it really liked it.

The Hotel New Hampshire. The unfolding family drama was compelling; Halaby takes her two characters, already at odds with their environment, and destroys any hope of finding a safe zone in which they can live happy lives.

However, halfway into the story, I found Jassim becoming the more interesting of the two, with integrity and a conscience surpassing his wife’s. FBI agents question a very, unworldly Jassim who does not recognize that he could be suspected of terrorism. Journal of Postcolonial Writing. The Splendor Before the Dark.


Once in a Promised Land

Losses, Journeys, and Ascensions: Without falling back on rigid ethnic formulations and taking refuge in righteous rhetoric, the novel explores the unusual and unexpected allegiances forged in crises: Halaby’s writing allowed me to move from two very different cultures effortless which is truly a talent.

It made me think twice about perspective and trying to sympathize when others experience any sort of loss or go through a life-altering event. The ending fails to deliver any resolution – no happy ending or confessions that you expect.

Unfortunately, what began as a five-star book soon became more ponderous and less enjoyable. There is no glossing over pain here, but the power of telling-richly human voices and the redemption of honesty. My Name on His Tongue: Beautifully, starkly, and powerfully written, this was a refreshing change of pace and I highly recommend it! Although the couple live far from Ground Zero, they cannot escape the dust cloud of paranoia settling over the nation.

I kept asking myself why she made the choices that she made, and could find no reason. Both are upwardly mobile over-achievers who seem to be living their version of the “American dream.

Halaby describes Salwa’s mixed reluctance and eagerness perfectly; I understand what she was trying to communicate in these scenes. Oct 22, Dana Clinton rated it really liked it. Is one of them more compelling for you, or easier to identify with?

Can you point to specific instances when Salwa and Jassim have to reconcile the differences between the Arab and the American cultures or lifestyles? 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.

A Palestinian now twice displaced, Salwa embraces the American dream.