In Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits Laila Lalami writes about a clandestine crossing from Morocco to Spain. Within this story she reveals the effects of this crossing on the changing religious beliefs of her two central female characters. While a probing critique notes how she tends to an analysis of the agency of these immigrants, there is little reference by Lalami to their religious identifiers. This is not an omission but a literary strategy suggesting that religious liaisons form venues of challenge and agency in Islamist revivals. Since faith practices are viewed differently by the women, and by the characters that surround them, these gaps illuminate the contradictions between how women view themselves and how others perceive them. Given how stereotypes of religion have emerged out of a history of colonization, these women’s personal journeys reject structures of entrapment and reductionism, resisting essentialist representations of women and Islam in unexpected ways.

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