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The Coin

'A filthy, elegant book' - Raven Leilani

Yasmin Zaher author

Format:Hardback

Publisher:Footnote Press Ltd

Published:11th Jul '24

Should be back in stock very soon

The Coin cover

A bold and unabashed novel about a young Palestinian woman's unravelling 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.

Abold and unabashed novel about a young Palestinian woman's unravelling 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.

'Amasterpiece' Slavoj Zizek

'A filthy, elegant book' Raven Leilani

'Glamorous and sordid' Elif Batuman

'Chipping away at Western hegemony one scalped it-bag at a time' New York Times

'A brilliant, audacious, powerhouse of a novel ... deliciously unruly' Katie Kitamura

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.

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
Chipping away at Western hegemony one scalped it-bag at a time -- New York Times
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
The Coin feels like a distinctly Palestinian novel-concerning itself, as it does, with its narrator's statelessness and increasing sense of isolation... Zaher's book also does the vital work of reminding the reader that there is no single story to be told about any group of people in any part of the world. Zaher's protagonist struggles under the weight of immense trauma, yes, but she's also a fashionista, an obsessor, and an educator doing her (sometimes-flawed) best to impart wisdom. In other words, she's a human being full of complexities and contradictions, and spending time in her world is both dizzying and delightful -- Emma Specter * Vogue *
Birkin-bag economics meets colorism and racism and feminism and more-it's beyond intersectionality-in Zaher's stunning and surreal debut novel of a young Palestinian woman who lives and teaches in New York City -- Bethanne Patrick * the Los Angeles Times *
[A] sharp and disarming debut novel. . . . Zaher is expert at crisp turns of phrase that reveal how brittle her narrator is. . . . A sturdy novel about an unsteady person is no small feat, and Zaher's prose is remarkably controlled -- Mark Athitakis * the Washington Post *
The Coin, the Palestinian journalist Zaher's debut-which is, yes, about a woman unraveling in New York City-feels arrestingly new...Her narration is spiky and honest, her choices gleefully, consciously bad. The pleasure she takes in making those decisions and then recounting them is what makes The Coin both unusual and compelling. Our protagonist denies herself nothing she wants, and she denies her audience no detail. The combination renders the book tough to put down -- Lily Meyer * The Atlantic *
[A] hypnotic debut. . . . Zaher's writing is deeply arresting, especially when her narrator is energized by her newfound sense of self-possession in New York, where she walks the streets wearing a 'violent' and 'sexual' perfume and carries a Birkin bag, which thrillingly transforms her into an object of desire. . . . A tour de force. * Publishers Weekly (starred review) *
A hypnotic portrait of a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. -- Shannon Carlin * TIME *
The Coin is marvelous, 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
Easily my book of the year, totally daring and unlike anything I've read before. -- Bethany Rutter

ISBN: 9781804441374

Dimensions: 222mm x 144mm x 25mm

Weight: 361g

240 pages