When a young man is given the chance to rewrite his future, he doesn't realize the price he will pay for giving up his past. Raised by his mother in a one room house in the slums of Casablanca, Youssef El Mekki has always had big dreams. Now a nineteen year old student, he watches old movies in a dilapidated neighbourhood cinema. Never missing a show, he imagines himself the hero, living another life in another world. And then one day, the unattainable is suddenly within reach. Youssef discovers that his father - whom he'd been led to believe was dead - is very much alive. A wealthy businessman, Nabil seems eager to care for the boy he never knew, to make him part of his life and give him a new start. Ready to play the role of the privileged son, Youssef leaves his mother behind to move into a penthouse apartment, mingle with the upper class, and see first hand how money opens the doors and makes opportunities appear. His future seems assured - until a reversal of fortune sends him back to the streets of Casablanca with his childhood friends. Trapped once again by his class, painfully aware of the necessity of money and connections and the limitations of his prospects, Youssef becomes easy prey for a fringe Islamic group known simply as the Party. In the spirit of The Inheritance of Loss and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Laila Lalami's debut novel looks at the struggle for identity, the need for love and family, and the desperation that grips ordinary lives in a world divided by class, politics, and religion.