November 11, 2020 8:36 AM EST

What does it mean to be an American citizen? For many, their birthplace, family legacy or white skin means never having to ask. But novelist and essayist Laila Lalami, who immigrated from Morocco, shows that this question of citizenship has never been a yes or no condition for many, but instead a continuum in which moments of ugly rejection give way to acceptance, and so on. Lalami’s passionate exploration shows that for citizens like herself, being treated as fully American is rarely a given. In striking prose, she explores the United States’ tortured history of questioning who belongs and forces us to examine the gap between the dream and the reality of American life.

Buy Now: Conditional Citizens on Bookshop | Amazon

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

EDIT POST