Salt Houses

Salt Houses

Book - 2017
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"From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past, between displacement and home...On the eve of her daughter Alia's wedding, Salma reads the girl's future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is up rooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia's brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can't escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia's children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities. Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand--one that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths: you can't go home again"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017
ISBN: 9780544912588
Branch Call Number: Fiction Alyan
Characteristics: 312 pages : illustration ; 24 cm


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Jun 17, 2020

This is a beautiful novel about mothers and daughters, war, the Palestinian diaspora, and intergenerational trauma. It made me smile and cry, and I find myself thinking of the characters long after I finished it.

Nov 04, 2018

SEp 2018: BM Books--practical, personalized tale of the series of transplants made by a Palestinian family as they're moved from one home state to another, losing more each time but still, retaining choices, to a point. Strong characters.

Mar 08, 2018

This is a family saga over four generations from 1963 to the present. Although the family is Palestinian, it is not particularly Palestinian in its sensibility, only in the family's forced frequent moves. Rather, it seems quite American. The author is successful in moving the narrative along.

Aug 18, 2017

Truly great books help us understand people who we might prefer to think of as 'other.' This one spans 3 generations and several decades of conflict in the Middle East... but it is also a story of mothers and sisters who love but don't understand eachother, who worry about how easily the men in their lives are distracted or manipulated. It put to shame my knowledge of both the history and geography of the area, and gave me a much more personal perspective on current events.

Beatricksy Jun 25, 2017

As is often the case in family dramas the problems feel petty compared to the events occurring in the background. The book is strongest when it views war through its children's characters' eyes, as they have a difficult time understanding why they have limitations--but the rest of the time, it's bickering and complaining about how people aren't what you expected. It can definitely be poetic and even delightful. I just wish it hadn't meandered quite so much. Some sections seemed unnecessary, while others could have used more. But that's life. It isn't always clean and interesting. Ah, family drama.


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