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The Thirty Names of Night

by Zeyn Joukhadar

The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar X
The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Nov 24, 2020
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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  • Mary B
    The Thirty Names of Night
    I received a free e-edition through Bookbrowse and NetGalley. I very much enjoyed this book. It was not a quick or easy read, but very good. Going back and forth between time frames meant having to pay close attention to each segment. The writing itself was wonderful, thought provoking. Very poetic and imaginative, revolving around ornithology across the generations and how it tied them together. Intermingled within the story was fantasy and magic. The main characters were Syrian immigrants trying to find their place in the world. For the main character and several others also being in the LGBT community.
  • Rebecca G. (Havertown, PA)
    For the love of birds
    There is so much to love about this book. It's actually taken a couple of weeks to write a review because I wasn't sure how to put my emotions into words. It's the story of an unnamed young woman who identifies as a boy. She's struggled all her life with a body she despises and is too strangled by her culture to face who she is, especially to the people in her life. She's also struggling with the death of her mother, a death she feels partly responsible for. Her mother was an ornithologist and her love of birds sustains the young woman, an artist confined to expressing herself through street art. The young woman, who eventually takes the name of Nadir when he eventually accepts himself, finds a diary, one that describes a rare Ibis. Nadir recognizes the bird as an Ibis his mother claims to have seen and he sets out to find the author of the diary and the rare birds. Along the way he discovers that birds of various kinds are swarming the city and that the love of birds that he shared with his mother is leading him on his quest to find the truth. He also discovers the warmth, kindness and acceptance of the transgender and homosexual community. While Nadir discovers the truth of the diary, its part in his and his family's life and ultimately love it's an end that tugs at the heart. I loved this book
  • Karen S. (Allston, MA)
    This might be several different novels
    Joukhadar creates beautiful and haunting scenes throughout this tale of three generations of Syrian-Americans. Blending immigration, ornithology and sexual identity is an unusual mix, and it mostly worked. The overall storytelling was where the book lost me.
    I wanted to like this book more, but it fell short for me. There is a lot going on and the pace did not carry me along, keeping me engaged. The build-up to the concluding events dragged too much for me, without the enjoyment of heightening anticipation. The author creates a world for the stories main characters across the generations, and keeps within that rather narrow world. It seems quite narrow even for an immigrant community story, and I was not sure that this would be that satisfying even for Syrian-Americans eager to read stories related to the Syrian experience in New York and the upper Midwest. Perhaps the story of accepting one's own sexual identity—and supporting others in their own quest- will be the story that appeals to more readers.
  • Dawn S. (Fergus Falls, MN)
    Thirty Names of Night
    I had a hard time getting into this book, and it was one of those that I had to set aside to maybe pick up again another day. It could be that it's just not my genre preference, but it just didn't hold my attention.
  • Julia E. (Atlanta, GA)
    Parts Greater Than Its Sum
    Covering three generations of a Syrian-American family, this exquisitely written novel offers a welcome voice to the American immigration experience. There are many brilliantly rendered scenes for the reader to savor. One feels, however, that the author is more of a poet than a novelist: one comes away with are memories of vivid descriptions rather than the solid satisfaction of a coherent tale, clearly told.. This work will likely be enjoyed by readers who closely identify with some of its important themes; others may wish the author's book editor had tickled out a more widely relatable story.
  • Susan S. (Springdale, AR)
    The Thirty Names Of Night
    Ambivalent is the way I feel about this book. I enjoyed the writing with its vivid descriptions which so clearly brought to mind the images of New York over time from the early 1900's to today. Unfortunately, there is much that the author assumes the reader will understand about the Arabic society. Unfamiliar language and customs made me feel the need for a glossary to keep up. I was also thoroughly confused about the whole IUD situation.
    Throughout the book, I could feel the ambivalence of the characters as well. Nobody seems to know who they are – male/female, American/Syrian – or what they want to become. Everyone is profoundly unhappy with their physical bodies and unhappy living in white man's America. The author's perception of the unfair treatment of people of color is evident. Race and sexual orientation define the characters.
    The first time I read the book, I hated it. I decided to read it again and try to embrace the characters. I can say I didn't hate it the second time around, but I didn't love it either. Maybe it is today's environment and the media frenzy over social reform, but I've grown weary of being inundated with the blame and finger pointing that occurs every time one section or another of society feels put upon. Maybe if this book had come at different time…
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