Immigration is an important component of the Great American history. How the U.S citizens and its founders arrived at the United States soil. The novel hope and other dangerous pursuits by literary writer Laila Lalami is about the immigration phenomenon among the United States people. The novel entails an unfamiliar immigrant experience that the writer has chose to recount, it’s about the tale of the Moroccans who war heading to Spain. The writer focuses on hope to show the nature of immigration in the United States. The characters in this novel are desperate emigrants who decide to make a perilous illegal journey from Morocco through the strait of Gibraltar into Spain through a boat due to the push and pull factors of morocco and Spain respectively. These emigrants were fervently hoping that they would safely into what they termed as “land of milk and honey”. Many are the people in Africa the third world countries who see the western countries as land of opportunities. On the other side, politicians and advisors in Europe and the United States increasingly caution the immigrants on the dangers and problems that they are likely to encounter in the process of immigration (56).
The novel is a timely view at the real lives that are affected by emigrants, the writer who was born and raised in Morocco, she decided to write the book after reading a story while in los Angeles where she was studying about fifteen Moroccans who had drowned in a boat while they were trying to cross from Morocco to Spain. The novel makes an argument about the nature of immigration as seen in the following quotation by the Pankaj Mishra who was writing in the New York book review “Lalami focuses on specificity and distrusts large abstractions – the abstractions that have become of the greatest importance in understanding the diverse political and cultural choices of Muslims, who seem lately to have become subject to wilder generalizations than would be deemed intellectually respectable for non-Muslims. She offers no false optimism” (Laila 106).
Laila Lalami’s Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits outline the lives of four very different characters that are all set for Spain as illegal migrants, changing between the past and the present day, the author of the book has told the story of each character and describes the events that have lead each character to lead to her or him to the decision of migrating to Spain in search for better lives. Spain offers each of the characters a place to recreate themselves and a chance to write their otherwise unwelcoming, prearranged destiny (Laila 76).
Aziz is an unemployed newly weeded character whose work is a mechanic, in morocco he barely makes his ends meet and cannot provide for his wife and thus seeks for an alternative in Spain. Aziz’s illegal emigration is essential aspect to him to realize his ambition of opening his own business. However, for the first time, Aziz is unlucky as he is captured by the Spanish officials and deported back to Morocco and he stays in tangier while struggling to make end meet. He tries to emigrate again for the second time and during this round he is successful, over a span of five years, Aziz manages to find a job that secures him a house in Madrid and is able to send money back home to his wife and family. He returns to morocco to visit his wife and mother with high hopes f going back to Spain with is wife. On arrival, Aziz finds Casablanca still affected by poverty and unemployment; he has a reunion with his wife and his mother, he fails to convince her wife to go to Madrid with him and leaves again alone.
Halima is another character who makes the fourteen kilometer trip to Spain with her three children; this is after frustrations from a failed divorce to her alcoholic and abusive husband. Halima has not credentials to her name and for this reason she could not find a good job in Morocco, she has high hopes of finding a better life in Spain. However, Halima is not lucky as she and others in the boat are intercepted by the Spanish Guardia official. This happens when they are forced to jump out o f the boat and swim through the remaining part of the distance. The Spanish officials deport them to Morocco. Halima is jobless and homeless, her only hopes are after her husband agrees to sign the divorce documents, and however, this does not solve her economic and social problems. All the characters that migrate with the high hopes of finding better lies on the other side of Spain however, most of them are faced with several challenges mainly due to the fact that none of them holds credentials to their name and second because they migrate to Spain illegally and thus cannot secure official jobs. After deportation back to Spain, most of the characters are negatively affected this is as a result if frustrations to only what seemed to be their only hope of a better life. For instance, after being deported back to morocco, Halima is forced to borrow money from her friend sand rents a room at town; she cannot go back to her husband since she had left for Spain on bad terms with her husband who refused to give her a divorce (Laila 76).