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Knopf, 2004 - Fiction - 291 pages
2 Reviews
A powerful first novel that engages the tumultuous events of today: at once an intimate portrait of a group of young Arab Muslims living in the United States, and the story of one man's journey into-and out of-violence.
We first meet Aziz Arkoun as a 24-year-old stowaway-frozen, hungry, his perceptions jammed by a language he can't understand or speak. After 52 days in the hold of a tanker from Algeria, he jumps into the icy waters of Boston harbor and swims to shore. Seemingly rescued from isolation by Algerians he knew as a child, he instead finds himself in a world of disillusionment, duplicity, and stolen identities, living a raw comedy of daily survival not unlike what he fled back home.
As the story of Aziz and his friends unfolds-moving from the hardscrabble neighborhoods of East Boston and Brooklyn to a North African army camp-"Harbor" makes vivid the ambiguities of these men's past and present lives: burying a murdered girl in the Sahara; reading medieval Persian poetry on a bus, passing for Mexican; shoplifting Versace for clubbing, succumbing to sex in a public library; impersonating a double agent. But when Aziz begins to suspect that he and his friends are under surveillance, all assumptions-his and ours-dissolve in an urgent, mesmerizing complexity.
And as "Harbor "races to its explosive conclusion, it compels us to question the questions it raises: Who are the
terrorists? Can we recognize them? How do they live?
A debut novel as evocative as it is convincing-a groundbreaking work that announces a fearless new voice in American fiction.

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User Review  - Gary10 - LibraryThing

The story centers on the activities of several Algerian immigrants and their difficulties. Good demonstration of how terrorism investigations can go astray with devastating consequences. Well written and timely. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kalafish - LibraryThing

The book focuses on an illegal immigrant from Algeria who becomes a terrorism suspect. The story takes place prior to 9/11 but is written post-9/11. I wasn't that impressed with it. At times it ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Lorraine Adams was educated at Princeton University and was a graduate fellow at Columbia University, where she received a master's degree in literature. A staff writer for the Washington Post for 11 years, she won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. She lives in Washington, D.C., and is at work on her second novel.

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