Laila Lalami: How "The Novel" Became "Secret Son"

Guest blog by Laila Lalami, author of Secret Son
Laila can be found online at lailalalami.com

For the first two years during which I worked on my novel, I didn't have a title for it.  It was simply labeled The Novel, both in my computer and in my head.  Perhaps this was because I really wasn't sure what the book was going to be about.  It started out as a historical novel, following two generations of two Moroccan families after independence; then I cut out the historical part; and eventually I got rid of one of the families.  As my focus narrowed, my story became clearer to me.  The Novel was about Youssef, a student and movie lover, who lives in a slum outside Casablanca.  He discovers that his entire existence has been a lie--his dead and respectably poor father turns out to be a wealthy businessman who is very much alive.  This discovery sets him on a journey to find his father and the truth. 

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I just finished reading "Secret Son" last night and I thought it was excellent. The choice of title fit the story as if that had been the idea all along. I enjoy books that offer insight into cultures I would never otherwise know about and this one is a good example. Yet, though it is set in a culture that I knew little about, the human element - the reasons for their actions do seem universal.
# Posted By Beth Cummings | 4/22/09 11:49 AM
I agree with Beth - great book. Thank you!
# Posted By Joan | 4/28/09 11:50 AM
And what a great book it is!
# Posted By Mary Akers | 5/3/09 7:40 AM
I find it annoying when books share titles--they're usually short, like "Malice" or "Dead of Night".
# Posted By Julie | 5/7/09 1:09 PM
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Someone by Alice McDermott
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