'A piercingly elegant novel . . . with the power to both break and mend your heart.' Ru Freeman, author of On Sal Mal Lane
'Epic in scope and uniquely relevant in its concern for displacement. Particularly well-suited for our times, then.' Red
Where do you go when you can’t go home?
On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs.
Although she keeps her predictions to herself that day, they soon come to pass in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. Caught up in the resistance, Alia’s brother disappears, while Alia and her husband move from Nablus to Kuwait City. Reluctantly they build a life, torn between needing to remember and learning to forget.
When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait, Alia and her family yet again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it. Scattering to Beirut, Paris and Boston, Alia’s children begin families of their own, once more navigating the burdens and blessings of beginning again.
Salt Houses is a piercingly elegant novel that registers Palestine with deep resonance for what it is: a once beloved home, known, lost, and re-imagined into life. A place where families decide between security and happiness, religion and heritage, where war is constant, yet peace is found. In the exquisite prose of a poet, Hala Alyan shows how we carry our origins in our hearts wherever we may roam, and how that history is calibrated by the places we choose to put down roots. This is a book with the power to both break and mend your heart.
A fiercely-told story of a family fleeing and rebuilding their lives.
Hala Alyan's Salt Houses flies like a searchlight between history and fiction, unearthing the life of a single displaced Palestinian family among the rubble and illuminating it so deeply, so brilliantly, we cannot help but connect the story's richly imagined past to our very real present.
Upon finishing I was quite overwhelmed by the impact of what was a masterfully written exploration into the mystery of identity rooted in place, family and memory, and the opportunity for redemption and healing through new generations… A moving and skilfully executed novel, Alyan’s debut is well worth discovering.