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  • Location: New York

The Coin

The Coin

Why a Booktrail?

2000s: a young Palestinian woman’s unraveling in New York

  • ISBN: 978-1804441374
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

A bold and unabashed novel about a young Palestinian woman’s unraveling as she teaches at a New York City middle school, gets caught up in a scheme reselling Birkin bags, and strives to gain control over her body and mind

The Coin’s narrator is a wealthy Palestinian woman with impeccable style and meticulous hygiene. And yet the ideal self, the ideal life, remains just out of reach: her inheritance is inaccessible, her homeland exists only in her memory and her attempt to thrive in America seems doomed from the start.

In New York, she strives to put down roots. She teaches at a school for underprivileged boys, where her eccentric methods cross boundaries. She befriends a homeless swindler, and the two participate in a pyramid scheme reselling Birkin bags.

Travel Guide

New York

She befriends a homeless swindler and the two participate in a pyramid scheme reselling Birkin bags, the value of which “increases, year by year, regardless of poverty, of war, of famine.” The juxtaposition of luxury and the abject engulfs her as she is able to con her way to bag after bag, preoccupied by the suffering she knows of the world.

Eventually, her body and mind go to war. America is stifling her—her willfulness, her sexuality, her ideology. In an attempt to regain control, she becomes preoccupied with purity, cleanliness and self-image, all while drawing her students into her obsessions. In an unforgettable denouement, her childhood memories converge with her feelings of existential statelessness, and the narrator unravels spectacularly.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Coin

Destination: New York   Author/guide: Yasmin Zaher  Departure Time: 2000s

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