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
A wonderful and heartbreaking story that follows a refugee family in 2011 and an explorer in the 1200s, showing how their lives parallel one another and intertwine across time and space. The motif of the maps and colors were a lovely touch. This was a pretty impressive debut novel, with some amazing quotes in it. I think I'll just leave the rest of the review with some of my favorites.
"He said one day I'd tell our story back to him. But my words are wild country, and I don't have a map."
"Every p ...more
“E. M. Forster taught us that ‘fiction is truer than history than history because it goes beyond the evidence.’ Jennifer Zeynab Maccani’s magic first novel is a testimony to that maxim. We’ve all been aware of the plight of Syrian refugees, but in this richly imaginative story we see one small family – both haunted by history and saved by myth – work their west. It’s beautiful and lovely and eye-opening.”
For the first time in years, I think of something Mama told me when I was little: that when you make a map, you don’t just paint the world the way it is. You paint your own.Joukhadar alternates between the legendary tale of a girl battling mythological beasts across windswept dunes on her quest to “map the lands of Anatolia, Bilad Ash-Sham, and the eastern Maghreb” and the story of a young Syrian refugee who makes a harrowing journey, alongside her family, in search of a new place to call hom ...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.
Nour, a twelve year old girl with a synesthesia that translates words and sounds into color is dealing with many changes. Her life is changing in ways unexpected, with her father’s death her mother, a cartographer who’s hand colored maps are things of unique beauty, decides that she’ll move Nour and her sisters back to Syria, to the city of Homs. Struggling with her own grief, and worried that she’ll somehow forget her father, she spends hours recounting tales of her favorite heroine, as told to ...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
Good lord—this is an incredible novel. ARC reviewed for Bookshop Santa Cruz’s spring/summer newsletter.
This deeply moving and gorgeously written novel follows the intertwining stories of two young women: in 2011, Nour is a Syrian-American girl whose family becomes refugees as they escape the Syrian Civil War, while 800 years earlier, Rawiya leaves her home in Cueta in search of adventure and disguises herself as a boy to apprentice with the world’s best mapmaker. On the way, the girls find thems ...more
This novel follows the story lines of two young girls, Nour and Rawiya. Nour, raised in present day New York, moves back to Syria with her mother and two sisters, after the death of her father. However, their home in the city of Hom is bombed and they are forced to flee their home as refugees, along with a neighbor. About eight hundred years earlier, Rawiya pretends to be a boy so she can become a prominent mapmaker's apprentice. Their team sets off on a journey, to map the known world, at the b ...more