“Francine Prose is a world-class
satirist who’s also a world-class storyteller.”—Russell Banks
Francine Prose captures contemporary America at its
most hilarious and dreadful in My New American Life, a darkly humorous
novel of mismatched aspirations, Albanian gangsters, and the ever-elusive
American dream. Following her New York Times bestselling novels Blue
Angel and A Changed Man, Prose delivers the darkly humorous story
of Lula, a twenty-something Albanian immigrant trying to find stability and
comfort in New York City in the charged aftermath of 9/11. Set at the front
lines of a cultural war between idealism and cynicism, inalienable rights and
implacable Homeland Security measures, My New American Life is a moving
and sardonic journey alongside a cast of characters exploring what it means to
Lula, a twenty-six-year-old Albanian woman living surreptitiously in New York City on an expiring tourist visa, hopes to make a better life for herself in America. When she lands a job as caretaker to Zeke, a rebellious high school senior in suburban New Jersey, it seems that the security, comfort, and happiness of the American dream may finally be within reach. Her new boss, Mister Stanley, an idealistic college professor turned Wall Street executive, assumes that Lula is a destitute refugee of the Balkan wars. He enlists his childhood friend Don Settebello, a hotshot lawyer who prides himself on defending political underdogs, to straighten out Lula's legal situation. In true American fashion, everyone gets what he wants and feels good about it.
But things take a more sinister turn 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 of her is no small favor. 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 so different from her old Albanian one?
Set in the aftermath of 9/11, My New American Life offers a vivid, darkly humorous, bitingly real portrait of a particular moment in history, when a nation's dreams and ideals gave way to a culture of cynicism, lies, and fear. Beneath its high comic surface, the novel is a more serious consideration of immigration, of what it was like to live through the Bush-Cheney years, and of what it means to be an American.
Critical Praise for
My New American Life
“An illuminating and ultimately upbeat look at America’s immigrant situation that all fiction readers will enjoy.”
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
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Changed Man, A
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