The Arsonists’ City, Hala Alyan

“An outcry in an echo chamber isn’t much of an outcry.”

Told in alternating viewpoints and timelines, The Arsonists City tells the story of a family in turmoil after the patriarch, Idris, decides to sell the family home in Beirut. Through the 3 siblings, we learn of their lives, their connection to Beirut, and each other. We also get their mother Mazna’s point of view, of her life before and during her marriage to Idris, and her life growing up in Damascus.

This book is long and comes in at 442 pages in paperback. The text is incredibly tiny. I imagine if they made it a bit larger, the book would have been even longer. The incredibly small text made this a much harder read for me.

Incredibly character-driven, you get a richly descriptive story in this book. It is an exquisite read from start to finish. Each of the siblings is relatable in their own way. I loved the multiple settings, the history of the wars, and the dynamics of the Nasr family. There were many layers to this story, and it was beautifully told. Thank you, HMH, for sending this along.

Read and like this review on Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub.

The Arsonists’ City is available on Amazon for $14.99.


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