Brilliant Family Drama

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yennaj11 Avatar


What a phenomenal novel! The Arsonists' City is my favorite of some very good books I have read so far this year, and I already look forward to re-reading it soon. The heartbreaking and heartwarming story of how generations of one family are affected by a tragedy from their past during war/unrest in Beirut is so amazingly well written. Author Hala Alyan weaves together a perfectly spooled tale featuring the multiple perspectives of the various members of the family to show how each one has secrets and - though they are entitled to their secrets - how those secrets affect others around them. This is the kind of book you both want to read slowly to digest each new fact and perspective, but also propel through because you want to know if and how the secrets will continue to reveal themselves. All the characters are well-developed, but the story about Mazna is especially poignant. None of the characters are perfect people, and I felt a range of emotions (including anger) at one point or another about each of them, but they are real and complicated. It takes true talent to write not just one but many characters so fully realized, and I am in awe of Alyan's skill. Add this to your TBRs immediately!