The aspect of Hala Alyan’s writing that impressed me the most was her vivid portrayals of the people she wrote about. To me they were not just characters in a story but real people. These were people I could not only see but hear as they went about their lives. Idris, Mazda and their three adult children Ava, Mimi, and Naj are not people of a nationality I would have much association with in my everyday life, but I had no problems picturing these people or feeling I was getting to know them well.
The family members are brought into closer contact with one another again because of father Idris’s decision to sell the ancestral home in Beirut after his father dies. There are opposing feelings about this , and the four members now living in the United States fly to Beirut where Idris’s sister Sara and daughter Naj, a talented musician, live. Each member of the family has secrets of some sort and situations in their lives to come to terms with. The author goes back in years several times to give the reader better understanding of situations that have occurred in the lives of each person.
I highly recommend The Arsonist’s City and appreciate winning a copy through BookishFirst, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and author Hala Alyan. I think this is a book many people would find interesting.