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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Spy of the First Person. Laila Halaby, who omce dares to dream of an intact culture, has written a forceful novel that catches innocence and the hope for wholeness in the web of its complex plot and squeezes them until they bleed.

Not wanting to further upset his depressed wife, he doesn’t tell her he killed the teen and struggles alone with the guilt. Viewpoint of middle eastern couple in America.

Jan 29, Jackie rated it liked it. Adam McKay’s gonzo Dick Cheney biopic lalia, Vice, won’t be compared to Shakespeare, but it shares the Bard’s disinterest in supervillains’ motivations.

What if I say that Once in a Promised Land is brilliant, insightful, heartbreaking, enchanting—what does that even mean anymore? Stay in Touch Sign up.

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.


Jul 27, Sukaina lsnd it. Laila Halaby, who still dares to dream of an intact culture, has written a forceful lail that catches innocence and the hope for wholeness in the web of its complex plot and squeezes them until they bleed.

May 10, Pam rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Beautifully observed and startlingly real, Halaby manages to say much alnd the immigrant experience while in the process exposing the darker side of American society, where prejudice and discrimination can often appear where you least expect it, even in the highest echelons of government. Aug 22, Nancy Snyder rated it did not like it.

Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby – PopMatters

Very good, led to good discussions. At some level I think it is largely about the experience of alienation and trying to find one’s authentic needs As each turn to others in their separate professional and social circles, the results are secrets, lies and further tragedy.

Initially Un was attracted to Salwa’s character, finding Jassim cold. Jassim hits a teenage boy with his car.

Once in a Promised Land

But this novel is brilliant because the prose glows, sends off heat. Salwa gravitates between wanting to escape America forever, reeling from the sorrow of a miscarriage, forced to confront office paranoia: Jassim, a hydrologist, believes passionately in his mission to keep the water tables from dropping and make water accessible to all people, but his work is threatened by an FBI witch hunt for domestic terrorists.

Glimpses of the Moon. My take-away is a new appreciation for the role of water in history and current events. I’m quite disappointed in how the book ended, I have so many questions! Halaby’s writing allowed me to move from two very different cultures effortless which is truly a talent. Growing Up Ethnic in America. Read it Forward Read it first. Jassim and Salwa Haddad live comfortably with well-paying jobs, fancy cars and more space and privacy than they ever had in Jordan.


Jassim was unable to tell his wife that he killed a young man who skateboarded into his Mercedes’ path. Jassim ends up being undermined by his wife’s distractedness and the self-doubt that has begun to plague his marriage, and also by a triumvirate of small-minded office girls who launch a government investigation against him. This is the fourth book, with one more to go, and then back to a once-a-month meeting which at least allows me to read something from my own huge stack of waiting books!

Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated. Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals. The only downside is the ending. Jul 07, Andrea rated it liked it. Halaby describes her realization:.

Salwa, a Palestinian now twice displaced, grappling to put down roots in an inhospitable climate, becomes pregnant against her husband’s wishes and then loses the baby. This book is a great read. There’s a problem loading this menu right now.