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A powerful and moving novel about several generations of a Palestinian family whose lives are repeatedly uprooted and disrupted by war. All the while they confront the common problems and rites of passage for families in any culture--conflict between parents and teenagers, the discovery or rejection of religion, caring for aging parents. A masterful debut from a major talent. — Stan Hynds
This is a beautifully written story of the many generations of a Palestinian family. It is a story of their relationships, their struggles, their love, and their legacy. It tells the meaning of life beautifully and without meaning to in the gorgeous sprawling prose that can only be written by a poet. This is one of the most important novels of the year. You will fall in love with every character and you will never want it to end. — Molly Halpin
As I read Salt Houses, I kept saying to myself, "I recognize that. That's me and my mother, clashing because we're so alike. That's my family's big fight over my grandmother's failing health. That's my family." The story of the human toll of each eruption in the Middle East, with new generations born into the upheaval of their parents' worlds, Salt Houses tells a story as foreign and familiar as family itself.— Katelynne Shimkus
Alyan instantly had my attention and often my breath with her story of the Palestinian wars and the displacement of families over the past 60 years. Told from the perspective of each family member, spanning three generations. Spot on mother-daughter struggles that were frighteningly easy to relate to. Loved every word. A new favorite! — Gail Cosgriff
“Accomplished poet Hala Alyan exceeds the brilliance of her excellent collections of poems in her moving, deeply felt, powerfully realized first novel, Salt Houses. I can't think of many writers who have so adeptly written of family relationships -here, spanning five generations, all against a vividly rendered backdrop of exile and migration. From Palestine to Jordan, Lebanon to Kuwait, Boston to New York, this is a story of people losing, finding, and making their way. Salt Houses gives voice, body, and love to people whose lives in this country tend, at most, to be featured anonymously in news accounts - and at that, in the negative. This is real life, beautifully written and graciously enlarging the sense of who we are.”
— Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA