The Resource Salt houses, Hala Alyan

Salt houses, Hala Alyan

Label
Salt houses
Title
Salt houses
Statement of responsibility
Hala Alyan
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
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 uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967. Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia's brother is pulled into a politically militarized world. Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City and reluctantly build a life with their three children -- until Saddam Hussein invades in 1990
Member of
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
Middle East Book Award, Youth Literature Winner, 2017
Review
  • The war may have only lasted six days, but its impact echoes through generations of a Palestinian family in this ambitious debut novel. Alia, an eye-catching bride who struggles as a wife and mother and finally inhabits a fog of confusion as an old woman, is uncompromising in her longing for a home to replace the one she was forced to leave following the Six-Day War in 1967. The death of her brother, Mustafa, in the war haunts both her and her husband, who harbors his own aching desire for the past. Each chapter offers a crystalline glimpse into a different character’s life, their stories jarringly redirected by the conflicts in the Middle East. Alyan uses deft storytelling to show that the way the characters’ relatives see them does not always match the view from their own eyes. Each of those points of view offers insight into the clashes and misunderstandings that arise between the generations, aggravated by the tension between tradition and modernity. This is a moving story about a family’s battle to salvage what remains when their home is taken away. -- Thoreson, Bridget (Reviewed 3/1/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 13, p40)
  • /* Starred Review */ Alyan blends joy with pain, frustration with elation, longing with boredom in this beautiful debut novel filled with the panoply of life. The frontispiece tells the whole story in microcosm with a family tree of the Palestinian Yacoub family, who, for most of the book, no longer lives in Palestine. One brother, Mustafa, is lost in the Six-Day War and the sisters, Alia and Widad, relocate to Kuwait while their mother, Salma, moves to Jordan. Later generations end up in France, America, and Lebanon. Alia, the young bride in 1963 in the first pages, is the family matriarch with Alzheimer’s as the book comes to a close. In 1977, her daughter, Souad, is a tantrum-throwing five-year-old in Kuwait City; by 1990, she is a student in Paris entering into an ill-considered marriage, then, 14 years later, a divorced mother of two, recently relocated from America to Beirut. Chapters focus on different family members as time and geography shift. These lives full of promise and loss will feel familiar to any reader; Alyan’s excellent storytelling and deft handling of the complex relationships ensures that readers will not soon forget the Yacoub family. (May) --Staff (Reviewed 03/27/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 13, p)
  • In what feels like a very personal debut novel, the award-winning poet Alyan, her lyrical skills on full display, traces four generations of the Yacoub family as they are forced into the ranks of the Palestinian diaspora. Constantly uprooted by war, Salma, Hussam, and their children Widad, Alia, and Mustafa make disparate decisions that have ramifications for their offspring over five decades. First fleeing Israeli tanks that bulldoze through their home in Jaffa, later settling in Nablus, only to be routed by the 1967 Six-Day War, Alia and her husband, Atef, relocate with her sister Widad to Kuwait. Salma, now a widow, joins the family in Amman, Jordan, while Mustafa, the rebellious brother who was the light around which his family circled, disappears. The Yacoubs are fortunate. Not relegated to refugee camps, they have the wherewithal to fashion new lives for themselves. Still, Alyan makes it abundantly clear how displaced persons, separated from their culture, their religion, and their homeland, are forever altered. VERDICT This timely historical does for the Palestinians what Khaled Hosseini did for the people of Afghanistan. By placing readers inside the hearts and minds of one Arab family scattered from Paris to Boston to Lebanon, she beautifully illustrates the resilience of the human spirit. [See Prepub Alert, 11/14/16.]—Sally Bissell, formerly with Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Fort Myers, FL --Sally Bissell (Reviewed 02/15/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 3, p73)
  • /* Starred Review */ "Nostalgia is an affliction" a character states in Palestinian-American poet Alyan's impressive first novel, which tracks the dispersal of four generations of a Palestinian family.As matriarch Salma reads the future in a cup of coffee the night before her daughter Alia's wedding in 1963, the Yacoub family has already been uprooted for 15 years. In the decades to come the Yacoubs' distinctly personal experiences will mirror the experiences of immigrants and refugees around the world and the Palestinians' dislocation in particular. Salma feels lucky; unlike others moved into resettlement camps when Israelis forced them from Jaffa, her husband's wealth afforded them a house in Nablus. But transience has become the Yacoubs' way of life. Alia's older, more traditional sister, Widad, has already moved to Kuwait in an arranged marriage. When the Six-Day War breaks out in 1967, Alia happens to be visiting Widad in Kuwait City while her husband, Atef, and beloved brother, Mustafa, close friends and anti-occupation activists, remain trapped in Palestine. Only Atef makes it to Kuwait, with a secret guilt that will haunt him for years. Unlike her sister, the independent-minded Alia has married Atef, a professor, for love. Their difficult marriage becomes one of the novel's most compelling elements as the couple creates a life in Kuwait with their three children—Riham, Karam, and Souad—until the 1990 Iraq-Kuwait war forces them to flee to Amman. Karam is sent to college in Boston and becomes an assimilated American despite summers with his kids in an inherited apartment in Beirut. Artsy Souad also ends up in Boston but never feels at home in America. After a divorce, she moves to Beirut, where she re-creates herself. While more traditionally religious than her relatively cosmopolitan siblings, Riham is as disturbed as any Western reader when her adolescent stepson flirts with political extremism. In the next generation, Souad's daughter finds her own sense of displacement painful yet freeing. It's not always easy to follow Alyan's complex geographic and emotional mapping, but this journey is well worth taking.A deeply moving look inside the Palestinian diaspora.(Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2017)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10562228
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1986-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Alyan, Hala
Dewey number
813/.6
Illustrations
genealogical tables
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Thorndike Press large print historical fiction
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Families
  • Palestinian Arabs
  • Culture conflict
Label
Salt houses, Hala Alyan
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
312 pages
Isbn
9780544912588
Isbn Type
(hb)
Lccn
2016046956
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustration
Label
Salt houses, Hala Alyan
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Extent
312 pages
Isbn
9780544912588
Isbn Type
(hb)
Lccn
2016046956
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustration

Library Locations

    • Bluebonnet Regional Branch LibraryBorrow it
      9200 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA, 70810, US
      30.365310 -91.105254
    • Carver Branch LibraryBorrow it
      720 Terrace St., Baton Rouge, LA, 70802, US
      30.436230 -91.183159
    • Main LibraryBorrow it
      7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA, 70806, US
      30.443886 -91.107152
    • Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch LibraryBorrow it
      11300 Greenwell Springs Rd., Baton Rouge, LA, 70814, US
      30.493828 -91.057497
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