This rich, moving, and lyrical debut novel is to Syria what The Kite Runner was to Afghanistan; the story of two girls living eight hundred years aparta modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmakerplaces todays headlines in the sweep of history, where the pain of exile and the triumph of courage echo again and again.It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nours mother once knew is changing, and it isnt long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. When a shell destroys Nours house and almost takes her life, she and her family are forced to choose: stay and risk more violence or flee as refugees across seven countries of the Middle East and North Africa in search of safety. As their journey becomes more and more challenging, Nours idea of home becomes a dream she struggles to remember and a hope she cannot live without.More than eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya, sixteen and a widows daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune. Disguising herself as a boy named Rami, she becomes an apprentice to al-Idrisi, who has been commissioned by King Roger II of Sicily to create a map of the world. In his employ, Rawiya embarks on an epic journey across the Middle East and the north of Africa where she encounters ferocious mythical beasts, epic battles, and real historical figures.A deep immersion into the richly varied cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, The Map of Salt and Stars follows the journeys of Nour and Rawiya as they travel along identical paths across the region eight hundred years apart, braving the unknown beside their companions as they are pulled by the promise of reaching home at last....
|Title||:||The Map of Salt and Stars|
|Number of Pages||:||361 pages|
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The Map of Salt and Stars Reviews
“The Syria I knew is in me somewhere. And I guess it’s in you too, in its own way.”
This book is really beautifully written and I found myself getting emotional a few times while reading. I really appreciate that the writer didn't go into the politics of the situation in Syria and chose to focus instead on the humanitarian aspect. I also liked that some of the historical figures and the places they visit are real.
I am going to admit I had a hard time staying with this book. It was one of the cases where I would read a chapter put the book down to return later. It was not that the writing was poor. Point in fact the writing was amazing, but the story line just could not seem to pull me into that place were time just drifted away as you became enthralled with the book. Perhaps it was because of the two stoy lines that were told or even the fact that as much as I seemed to gain knowledge of the characters, ...more
A gorgeous cover for a gorgeous book. Nour, the main character, is twelve and has recently lost her father. Her and her family - mother, two older sisters - move back to Syria to try and restart their life after their loss. When a shell demolishes their house they must travel to the border and seek refuge in another country... then another, then another, and another...
Between the chapters about Nour, her family, and their quest to find home, is the story of Rawiya. 800 years previous to Nour' ...more
A solid 4 stars on this one from me. With lyrical writing from Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar, this book takes you on a journey. Two storylines, with the first one having us follow Nour and her family from New York back to Syria after the death of Nour's father. Unfortunately, events in Syria force them to flee. One fascinating point of Nour's character is that she sees "in color" - synesthesia - and this helped me envision the Middle East landscape even more. An interesting way to see the world.
This is a difficult book for me to review because there were parts that I absolutely loved but at times I was put off but can’t explain why. The prose of this book is beautiful yet some times I felt there was too much description. The author tells us two, somewhat parallel stories of strong young women living about 1000 years apart in Syria and surrounding areas. The older story is almost a fairy tale that was apparently told to Nour, the narrator of the present day story. It inspires her to fin ...more
A sweeping look at the Muslim world from Syria around the Mediterranean to Algeria. Two harrowing journeys: In one, a group of mapmakers mount camels to plot the geography of the known world, battling warlords, kings and the fantastic mythical beast Roc; 800 years later, a mother, who draws maps for a living [every map is, after all, a story] with three daughters, Nour, Huda and Zahra, moves from New York City to Homs, in Syria, as the mother wanted to be near relatives after the death of her hu ...more
Oh my gosh this book is absolutely beautiful!! Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar’s writing is lyrical, music, a canvas that she paints in such vivid colors as you read.
The Map of Salt and Stars is the story of two stories in parallel, 800 years apart. Nour, a 12 year old Syrian-American, goes back to Syria with her mother and two sisters after her father dies in 2012, and then nearly dies herself when a bomb smashes her family’s home in Homs to rubble. Rawiya leaves her home disguised as a boy, and beco ...more
Many thanks to Touchstone Books for my free copy of MAP OF SALT AND STARS by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar - all opinions are my own.
This is a gorgeously written, heartbreaking, and inspiring story. It’s written with a unique perspective, not of a refugee figuring out life in America, but of a family who has to move back to Syria because of a tragic loss. Twelve-year-old Nour was born and raised in New York by two immigrant parents, but after her father dies of cancer, her mother moves her and her s ...more