Coupon
Salt Houses
by Hala Alyan


Overview - "Reading Salt Houses is like having your coffee grounds read: cosmic, foreboding and titillating all at once. In this magnificent debut, Alyan's powerful and poetic voice guides us into the dark recesses of history and leads us right up to the present tensions between East & West, the modern & ancestral, the hopeless and the hopeful."
--Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan's Inheritance

On the eve of her daughter Alia's wedding, Salma reads the girl's future in a cup of coffee dregs.
  Read more...

 
Hardcover
  • Retail Price: $26.00
  • $19.50
    (Save 25%)
  • 20% off for Members: Get the Club Price
    $ 15.60

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

In Stock Online.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
 
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

 
 
eBook
Retail Price: $26.00
$18.35

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

Download

This item is available only to U.S. and Canada billing addresses.
 
 
 

More About Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
 
 
 
Overview
"Reading Salt Houses is like having your coffee grounds read: cosmic, foreboding and titillating all at once. In this magnificent debut, Alyan's powerful and poetic voice guides us into the dark recesses of history and leads us right up to the present tensions between East & West, the modern & ancestral, the hopeless and the hopeful."
--Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan's Inheritance

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 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 in 1990, 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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780544912588
  • ISBN-10: 0544912586
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish Date: May 2017
  • Page Count: 320
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Sagas
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
BookPage Reviews

Scattered to the wind

BookPage Top Pick in Fiction, May 2017

Salt Houses is a dazzling debut about four generations of the Yacoubs, a Palestinian family originally from Jaffa. Told from multiple points of view, the novel offers a unique perspective on Arab displacement, assimilation and the very notion of home. At the same time, it puts a human face on a conflict that many of us need to better understand.

The Yacoubs were relocated from Jaffa to Nablus before the novel even begins. The story opens in 1963, 15 years after this first relocation and just as Salma is reading the future in coffee grounds on her daughter Alia’s wedding day. Though Salma tries to soften the message she detects, it soon becomes clear that the family will experience further displacements. After the Six-Day War (1967), they are forced to leave their home. Salma joins extended family in Jordan, and Alia and her husband, Atef, relocate to Kuwait where they raise a family. After Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the family scatters once again; this time the grown children of Alia and Atef, now with families of their own, disperse to Paris, Boston and Beirut.

Palestinian-American author Hala Alyan, who is also a practicing psychologist, balances the ordinary joys and burdens of family life with the deeper clashes of culture and homesickness that occur as the Yacoubs spread across the globe. Whether she is depicting the stormy marriage between Alia and Atef or their daughter Widad’s concerns over her stepson’s interest in the more extreme practitioners of Islam, Alyan serves her story well through precise, almost poetic language and empathy toward her characters.

Though the novel is not overtly political, both Alia and Atef are haunted by memories of Alia’s brother, Mustafa, who died in an Israeli jail. But nostalgia is an indulgence they can ill afford. Transience is their way of life, and resilience is their legacy to their children. Salt Houses speaks to the specificity of the Palestinian diaspora, but it also mirrors the experiences of immigrants and exiles all over the world, making it very much a book for every reader.

This article was originally published in the May 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews