"Tonight the man will die. In some ways, the city already seems resigned to it, the Beirut dusk uncharacteristically flat, cloud, a peculiar staleness rippling through the trees like wind. It's easy to costume the earth for grief and tonight the birds perched upon the tangled electricity wires look like mourners in their black and white feathers, staring down at the concrete refugee camps without song."
So begins Hala Alyan's new novel, The Arsonists' City. When the Nasr family patriarch suddenly passes away, his death leads to a domino effect resulting in the controversial decision to sell the family home in Beirut. The story follows the members of the Nasr family as they come together from different corners of the world and bring with them their histories, secrets, hopes, and regrets. Alyan writes vividly, creating memorable characters with unique personalities and cultures but all tied to each other by their Middle Eastern and familial roots. The Arsonists' City is a great novel and slightly reminds me of Jonathan Trooper's This Is Where I Leave You. Recommended for fans of Celeste Ng, Jonathan Trooper, and Miriam Toews.