A Very Character Driven Read

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sgudavalli Avatar


I would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for the advanced reader's copy of The Arsonists’ City.

A lot of time and care is put into developing each character, and for that reason this novel is more for those who enjoy character driven stories. You really need to be patient with the narrative as it continues to flesh out the children and parent dynamics. How Hala Alyan continues to build this narrative with other themes such as immigration and politics is also very interesting and deserves recognition.

The Arsonists' City is definitely not for everyone and is not a perfect read. At times Alyan struggles to balance all her characters and often certain plot threads come off as unnecessary. But if you do give her a chance, I think one would be swept away with her prose. It has the ability to make you cry and laugh at times, and just sit with the characters she has created.