The Coin: A Novel By Yasmin Zaher Cover Image
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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 an intercontinental scheme reselling Birkin bags.

But America is stifling her—her willfulness, her sexuality, her principles. 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 material and existential statelessness, and the narrator unravels spectacularly.

In enthralling, sensory prose, The Coin explores nature and civilization, beauty and justice, class and belonging—all while resisting easy moralizing. Provocative, wry, and inviting, The Coin marks the arrival of a major new literary voice.

About the Author

Yasmin Zaher is a Palestinian journalist and writer born in 1991 in Jerusalem. The Coin is her first novel.

Praise For…

Named a Most Anticipated Book by The Seattle Times, Vulture, Marie Claire, Ms., Bookshop, Literary Hub, and Electric Literature

"In her debut novel, Zaher draws a Venn diagram of the glamorously neurotic and the politically oppressed, then sets her protagonist spinning in that maddening little overlap." —Madeline Leung Coleman, Vulture

"A very stylish novel that manages to broach class and statelessness with tact and humor, while also touching on beauty, sex, love and the nature of civilization itself, all from a Palestinian debut novelist." —Literary Hub

The Coin is a filthy, elegant book, keen on the fixations that overtake the body and upend a life.” —Raven Leilani, author of Luster

"The Coin is a brilliant, audacious, powerhouse of a novel. A story of obsession and appetite, politics and class, it is deliciously unruly. An exceptional debut by an outrageous new talent." —Katie Kitamura, author of Intimacies and A Separation

"I loved this bonkers novel. I was hooked by the voice, and mesmerized by the glamorous and sordid hijinks. I have never read such a strange and recognizable representation of post-2016 New York City, its luxury and squalor. Zaher is a writer to watch." —Elif Batuman, author of Either/Or and The Idiot

"Yasmin Zaher must have used electric ink to write this book. It is charged with such strangeness and humor; it glows with disobedience. A marvelous novel." —Ayşegül Savaş, author of White on White and Walking on the Ceiling

"The Coin is a taut, caustic wonder. Like Jean Rhys, Yasmin Zaher captures the outrageous loneliness of contemporary life, the gradual and total displacement of the human heart. This is a novel of wealth, filth, beauty, and grief told in clarion prose and with unbearable suspense. I was in its clutches from the first page." —Hilary Leichter, author of Terrace Story and Temporary

"The Coin is marvellous, absolutely mental, and full of pleasurable surprises. I read it in a flash. What an entrance." —Isabella Hammad, author of Enter Ghost and The Parisian

"The Coin does much more than meet the highest standards of literature: it sets its own standards. It combines intimate bodily observations and repetitive daily routines with delicate power plays, displays of crumbling authority, and interrogations of justice, all against the background of global violence. And should we really be surprised that it was a young Palestinian citizen of Israel who performed this miracle? Those who dismiss Palestinians as the violent Other of the Western civilization will discover that a Palestinian can see the truth of our messy world better than we ourselves. The Coin is not a wonderful beginning that promises masterpieces to come—it already is a masterpiece.” —Slavoj Žižek

Product Details
ISBN: 9781646222100
ISBN-10: 1646222105
Publisher: Catapult
Publication Date: July 9th, 2024
Pages: 240
Language: English