About the Book
From the New York Times bestselling author of READING LIKE A WRITER comes a brilliant new novel that captures America at its most hilarious and dreadful through a cast of characters remarkable for their flawed humanity It is 2005, and Lula is waitressing illegally at La Changita, a hangout for free-spending young Wall Streeters, and sharing a tiny apartment with three other immigrant hopefuls in New York's Alphabet City. An Albanian on an expiring tourist visa, twenty-six year old Lula hopes to make a better life for herself in America. When she lands a job as caretaker to a high school senior in suburban New Jersey and moves in with Mister Stanley, an idealistic college professor turned Wall Street executive, and his rebellious son Zeke, it seems that the security, comfort, and happiness of the American dream might finally be within reach. Mister Stanley assumes that Lula is a destitute war refugee from a country where violent family feuding makes "The Sopranos" look tame, and Lula doesn't inform him otherwise. Don Settebello, Stanley's childhood friend and a hotshot lawyer who prides himself on defending political underdogs, volunteers to straighten out her legal situation. In true American fashion, everyone gets what he wants and feels good about it. Things take a different turn, however, when Lula's Albanian "brothers" show up in a brand-new black Lexus SUV. Hoodie, Leather Jacket, and the Cute One remind her that all Albanians are family, but what they ask her to do is no small thing. Lula's new American life suddenly becomes more complicated, as she struggles to find her footing as a stranger in a strange new land. Is it possible that her new American life is not as completely different from her old Albanian one as she once imagined? MY NEW AMERICAN LIFE offers a vivid, darkly humorous, bitingly real portrait of a particular moment in American history, where people longed for an ideal promised by the Founding Fathers but found themselves enmeshed instead in a culture of lies and fears, rife with thorny immigration issues and disturbing images of men in prison suits at Guantanamo.