It may be presumptuous to call it one of my favorite books of the year, but I’m going to go with it.
The Map of Salt and Stars is the tragic, beautiful, and ultimately uplifting story of Nour, a New York born girl who moves back to Syria after the death of her father. Quickly upon their return, their home in Homs is decimated, and her family traverses throughout the Middle East trying to find their way back to back home wherever home is.
Nour’s favorite story, told by her late father, was about a voyager girl named Rawiya. Together Rawiya and Nour’s stories interweave and follow the same paths, both geographically and in their experiences.
While this book is fiction, it does shed a very all too important light on the plight of refugees, and specifically those in Syria. Reading it from the perspective of a young girl, who could be my cousin, could be your cousin, could have been us, brings it to life in a way no news story or photograph can.
Books like The Map Of Salt And Stars are vitally important to read in an increasingly divided, contentious, and difficult world that we live in today. They are also uplifting, encouraging, and a reminder that humanity is inherently good and worth fighting for.
The prose was stunning. It’s rare that I read a book written as beautifully as this one. I also was impressed at the way she managed the pacing of the stories, both Nour’s and Rawiya’s, as they traveled across countries and experienced unimaginable hardships. Every character was well developed, every scene had a purpose, and every word of this book mattered.
Favorite book of 2018? It very well could be. It’s certainly the one book that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I finished reading it.
Other books you may love – this multigenerational saga set in Korea, a Greek myth unlike one you’ve ever read, and the book that had me laughing, crying, and feeling all the feelings. I share a book review on Fridays. You can find (and easily filter!) all of them here.
Touchstone gifted me a copy of the book to review. All opinions are my own.