'Full of tension and love and danger. This is a beautifully told, magical novel about journeys and finding your way home.' STYLIST
Nour has lost her father. She has also lost the place she was born in and now lives in the Syrian town of Homs, along with her sisters and mother. And so, by the fig tree in the garden, Nour whispers the stories her Baba once told her, so that the roots of the tree will carry those stories back to where her father is buried and he won't feel so alone. Her favourite is the story of Rawiya, a young girl from the twelfth century who left her home in search of adventure, dressed as a boy.
But Syria is changing and it isn't long before protests and shelling destroy the peace of the quiet city. As Nour begins her own journey as a refugee, she draws strength and inspiration from the voyage of Rawiya, who became apprenticed to the famous mapmaker, Al Idrisi, and who battled mythical creatures and endured epic battles in the attempt to compile the most accurate map of the world ever made.
THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS is a breathtakingly beautiful novel that illuminates the story of a country in turmoil, a tale of human resilience and the power of stories to transform.
JUST some of the praise from readers of THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS:
'You know that wonderful feeling when you read the last page of a truly great story and then you clutch the book to your chest as if to hug the world within those pages? That's how I'm feeling right now.' Goodreads 4 star review
'A complex and multi-layered novel told in a rich atmospheric voice destined to be one of the most important works of 2018.' Goodreads 5 star review
'This stunningly written, heartbreakingly beautiful (but ultimately, hopeful) story is a rich, multilayered + sweeping saga... A beautiful melding of myth, grief, hope and persistence- I just loved this one.' Goodreads 4 star review
'A beautifully written debut novel about stories and storytelling that you won't soon forget. "Stories map the soul, in the guise of words." Goodreads 4 star review
'I seriously cannot recommend this book enough. I see fireworks: red, blue, purple, green, with a shower of golden stars. The Map of Salt and Stars is amazing. Please read this book.' Goodreads 5 star review
'The Map Of Salt And Stars is really such a fantastic read and once you have started it is impossible to stop.' Goodreads 4 star review
'There are parts that will make your heart stop and parts that will make it beat again.' Goodreads 5 star review
'I believe this book is to Syrian heritage what the Kite Runner is to Afghanistan. All in all, a great read.' Goodreads 5 star review
'Beautifully written with lush detail....stories will give you have a deeper understanding and appreciation that we are all maps and stories. It will also show you what home is and what home means.' Goodreads 5 star review
Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar is a Syrian American author, and a member of the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI). Originally from New York City, Jennifer was born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother. After earning her PhD in the Pathobiology Graduate Program at Brown University, she worked as a biomedical research scientist before switching careers to pursue writing full time. Jennifer's short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in THE KENYON REVIEW, THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, PANK MAGAZINE, GULF STREAM LITERARY MAGAZINE, THE NORMAL SCHOOL, and elsewhere. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. She has also previously published work under the name Jennifer Zeynab Maccani.
Full of tension and love and danger. This is a beautifully told, magical novel about journeys and finding your way home. — STYLIST
The interweaving of the two stories is skilfully done... Joukhadar can be congratulated on an unusual first novel. — MAIL ON SUNDAY
A gorgeous and timely story — THE ARAB DAILY NEWS
Joukhadar's prose is like a dream, which is fitting for this pair of stories, one drawn from fantastical legend, the other from nightmarish current events from which Syria has yet to awaken. — SEATTLE TIMES
A spellbinding geography of family and hope. — SHELF AWARENESS
Scheherazade's "The Thousand and One Nights" meets Alan Gratz's "Refugee" in this important debut novel ...There are parts that will make your heart stop and parts that will make it beat again. It's an incredible force. — WILDLY READ
After the death of her beloved father, imaginative 11-year-old Nour leaves New York City, where she was born, and returns home with her cartographer mother and two older sisters to the family's native Syria, where bombs released by Assad's forces soon destroy their home and send them on a desperate flight across North Africa. More than 800 years earlier, Rawiya, the daughter of an impoverished widow, disguises herself as a boy and leaves medieval Ceuta-modern Spain's foothold on the African coast-and apprentices herself to a mapmaker, traveling with him throughout the Levant. The stories are deftly interwoven, for Nour's father has told her about Rawiya's fabulous, sometimes mythic adventures. Parallels abound, from the spunky, triumphant heroines to mapmaking as a key to finding oneself to the special stone Nour hunts, once the eye of a terrifying winged creature battled by Rawiya. Debut novelist Joukhadar gracefully balances the gritty, often horrific truth of the refugee's plight with the lyrical near-fairy tale she has created (in both time periods), layered with burnished hope and occasionally overplayed sentiment.
VERDICT A wise, vibrantly told story for a wide range of readers, particularly relevant now.
— Library Journal
The Map of Salt and Stars presents an Arab world in full possession of its immense historical and cultural biography, marred by its modern tragedies but not exclusively defined by them. — BOOK PAGE
This imaginative yet very real look into war-torn Syria is a must. — BOOK LIST ONLINE
A very good book, and an important, eye-opening one too. — INTERZONE