Guest Author: Hala Alyan
Hala Alyan is guest host of #LitChat on May 8, 2017 at 4 p.m. ET. Follow #LitChat on Twitter, or login to our dedicated channel at www.twubs.com/litchat.
Salt Houses, Hala Alyan’s debut novel, explores a Palestinian family caught between present and past, between displacement and home.
On the eve of her daughter Alia’s wedding, Salma reads the girl’s future in a cup of coffee dregs. She sees an unsettled life for Alia and her children; she also sees travel, and luck. While she chooses to keep her predictions to herself that day, they will all soon come to pass when the family is uprooted in the wake of the Six-Day War of 1967.
Salma is forced to leave her home in Nablus; Alia’s brother gets pulled into a politically militarized world he can’t escape; and Alia and her gentle-spirited husband move to Kuwait City, where they reluctantly build a life with their three children. When Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait in 1990, Alia and her family once again lose their home, their land, and their story as they know it, scattering to Beirut, Paris, Boston, and beyond. Soon Alia’s children begin families of their own, once again navigating the burdens (and blessings) of assimilation in foreign cities.
Lyrical and heartbreaking, Salt Houses is a remarkable debut novel that challenges and humanizes an age-old conflict we might think we understand—one that asks us to confront that most devastating of all truths: you can’t go home again.
Hala Alyan is an award-winning Palestinian American poet, novelist and clinical psychologist whose work has appeared in numerous journals including The Missouri Review, Prairie Schooner and Colorado Review. She resides in Brookyln with her husband.
Follow Hala Alyan on Twitter: @HalaNAlyan.