I Loved This Unique Story | BookishFirst

I Loved This Unique Story

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readingrebecca Avatar


I loved The Arsonists' City. Don't let the thick 442 pages of a smaller-sized font discourage you from picking up this amazing novel by Hala Alyan about a very realistic but flawed cast of family members. The Nasr family, originally from Beirut, now has most of their family members in the United States. However, their reasonably-happy, American lives are disrupted by grandfather's death (in Beirut), and the need to be present to sell the family home and settle his estate. Thirty-nine year old Ava has married well, into the old-money Tucker family, and her husband's past infidelity makes her uneasy. She seems to have forgiven husband Nate because she likes the lifestyle. But is forgiveness going to be enough to hold them together when Nate is sent to out of state to Portland for a great job. Ava does the classic modern snooping - looking for emails, etc. (No plot spoilers here.) Ava's brother, however, is not as hardworking as she. He is a young man with big dreams of becoming a famous musician, but his lack of any big effort or dedication to hard work has left him just getting by. While all of this may sound mundane, the book is anything but. There are a few sections where the pace is slower as family problems are pondered by the characters, but I never felt bored.Family members all have various secrets and life is complicated by the past and the effects of war in the Middle East. I appreciate receiving my print ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and BookishFirst.