An impressive novel!

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elena l. Avatar


THE ARSONISTS' CITY is story written in dual timelines - present day, the Nasr family travels to Beirut after a family death and the children (Naj, Mimi, Ava) try to convince their father to not sell the ancestral home; another storyline follows Mazna (Syrian mother) and Idris (Lebanese father)'s backstory of their youth. THE ARSONISTS' CITY is a masterfully crafted family saga spanning two generations which captures the secrets, grief and drama that the Nasr family goes through in midst of the current events and politics taking place in Beirut.

I love the setting in Beirut and Damascus, since I know that I don't read much about both places. Alyan is a talented storyteller who gives us a vivid portrait of the occupation, politics and refugees regarding these locations. Even though the book is quite thick (over 400 pages), I was not intimidated and I am taking my time to read and re-read words in order to extract the most.

Towards the end, the motherhood is thoroughly explored, covering the challenging balance between pursuing your dream and focusing on your family. The emotions are intensified as the secrets are being smoothly unraveled, revealing the fragilities yet undeniable bond inside a family. I thought that the ending was a beautiful closure. In short, read this book because it is that good!