Author: Hala Alyan
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: March 9, 2021
Book Description: A rich family story, a personal look at the legacy of war in the Middle East, and an indelible rendering of how we hold on to the people and places we call home
The Nasr family is spread across the globe—Beirut, Brooklyn, Austin, the California desert. A Syrian mother, a Lebanese father, and three American children: all have lived a life of migration. Still, they’ve always had their ancestral home in Beirut—a constant touchstone—and the complicated, messy family love that binds them. But following his father’s recent death, Idris, the family’s new patriarch, has decided to sell.
The decision brings the family to Beirut, where everyone unites against Idris in a fight to save the house. They all have secrets—lost loves, bitter jealousies, abandoned passions, deep-set shame—that distance has helped smother. But in a city smoldering with the legacy of war, an ongoing flow of refugees, religious tension, and political protest, those secrets ignite, imperiling the fragile ties that hold this family together.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: This is the story of the Nasr family, separated by familial circumstances and are brought together when the patriarch Idris decides to sell his family home in Beirut. With this news the entire family decides to go back there for the summer.
We meet Ava, Mimi and Naj, who have scattered all over the United States to follow their dreams and loves. Each sibling is struggling with different things in their lives, which makes the timing of this trip all too perfect.
Alyan weaves a complex family narrative that goes into detail how Idris meets his wife, and the secrets that they hold and weaves seamlessly into each of the children’s stories. Each character has a unique voice with a unique story that blends into a beautiful story.
If you love epic family stories, this book will fit the bill, providing all the emotions that you would expect from this type of story. It felt completely genuine throughout and all I wanted was to spend a little more time with these characters.
Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.