Critical Mass

Laila Lalami on What to Read this Summer

By Laila Lalami

The month of June kicked off Reading the World. As part of this project, the NBCC has asked writers from around the globe to recommend a book from beyond these shores. We asked NBCC member Laila Lalami, author of the novel“Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits,” what she had to recommend. Here's what she had to say:


“I wanted to recommend J.M. Coetzee's “Waiting for the Barbarians,” a haunting novel about an old magistrate in a remote outpost of an unnamed empire. He is visited by a colonel who declares that the empire is under threat from barbarians just outside the gates. The main character is deeply affecting, the prose is controlled and precise, and the questions that Coetzee raises about the human condition are perhaps more relevant today than at any other time in recent history.