The Coin

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Pub Date 11 Jul 2024 | Archive Date Not set
Bonnier | Footnote Press

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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 a pyramid scheme reselling Birkin bags.

But America is stifling her - her wilfulness, 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 civilisation, beauty and justice, class and belonging - all while resisting easy moralising. Provocative, wry and inviting, The Coin marks the arrival of a major new literary voice.

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...

Advance Praise

Yasmin Zaher's The Coin does much more than meet the highest standards of literature: it sets its own standards...The Coin is not a wonderful beginning that promises masterpieces to come - it already is a masterpiece -- Slavoj Zizek

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

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

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

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

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 -- Aysegül Savas, 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

Yasmin Zaher's The Coin does much more than meet the highest standards of literature: it sets its own standards...The Coin is not a wonderful beginning that promises masterpieces to come - it already...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781804441374
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

I loved this book because it was different, completely different to anything that I had read before.
I am not going to say that I understood everything that the book was saying, but then again when do we ever understand anybody else completely.
I read the book within 24 hours of getting it, not quite in one sitting but almost.
The book is essentially about the triumphs, trials and tribulations of a young adult female who is of Palestinian heritage, living as a teacher in New York.
She has various hang-ups and lots of weird ideas (but who doesn't) and would appear to be searching for the meaning of life (who hasn't) and finds her truth her way.
The book was one of those rare books, for me anyway, that it is difficult to stop reading because of wanting to find what happens next.
If you like books that investigate the inner workings of a mind then this book is for you. Enjoy!
May thanks to the author for a stimulating, interesting read.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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The plot and the writing style of this truly blew me away. It is really rare to find a voice that is so unique. The narration really invites the reader into the very inner life of the protagonist as she makes some fascinating choices. The ending could have felt jarring and out of character but the fact that readers had developed a strong and intimate bond whereby every thought is shared meant that the final section made complete sense. I really enjoyed this!

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An interesting and unnerving novel, and overall I really enjoyed it. It was an engaging exploration of the inner workings of our protagonist's mind and I really enjoyed the author's writing style. We are privy to a poignant and disturbing account of our main character's unravelling amidst consideration of a variety of pertinent themes and I found myself gripped. I would definitely recommend, particularly for fans of Mona Awad.

Many thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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This book will no doubt prove to be one of the most relevant poignant books of its time. It depicts the unravelling of a young Palestinian teacher in New York. Having left her home she seeks to find herself in a country where the women in her family have all failed. She is immediately torn between enlightening the boys in her 8th grade class or teaching the curriculum. There is a sense of unease as you are constantly on edge as to how far she will take it. The boys are from broken backgrounds, trying to navigate their own young lives.. Can they really understand the struggles of foreign war.
There are some wonderful if not disturbing recounts of her childhood and of land and homes being confiscated and given to Israeli settlers. We are told of the subsequent psychological breakdowns of those removed.
Zaher juxtaposes this with a sub plot whereby the narrator, who has a trust fund, embarks of a pyramid scheme involving luxury bags. Her partner is a homosexual man who is unable to fulfil her needs. A relationship which sees her further alienated and alone.
Her views towards those around her become ever existential until her sense of nothingness but nature becomes synonymous with her ability to function. albeit barely.
This book reminded me very much of Camus "The Stranger" and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Thank you to Rachel Quin and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this.

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Yasmin Zaher's debut novel, The Coin, tells the story of a Palestinian woman living in New York. She has some unusual fixations, which create a very distinct person on the page. How much you love this novel will depend upon how happy you are being shown a person, warts and all, on the page. Zaher does not hide anything from us in her exploration of this soul.

The writing was at times electric, and I read through this in one sitting. It is a superb debut, and marks Zaher out as a name to watch. I am certainly very keen to see what she does next.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC. This may very well be the best book I'll read this year. I thought it was INCREDIBLE. I rarely read debuts, but made an exception for this one due to the Zizek blurb. I thought this was so incredibly impressive - the voice, the storytelling, the themes, the strangeness. I would 100% teach this to students; there's so many fascinating things to analyse here. I hope this gets huge on TikTok!

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