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Salt Houses


From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family...
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Discuss Salt Houses by Hala Alyan:
What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

Created: 05/25/18

Replies: 13

Posted May. 25, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1559

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What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?


Posted Jun. 03, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 169

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

Abdullah and Riham seemed to have a good relationship when he was a child. Then he became swept up in the politics and hatred fo the times. Fortunately, Riham was able to share the story of Mustafa, and her own story, and set Abdullah on a better path. I was happy she succeeded as I envisioned him as one of the radicals. HE became a productive. caring person.


Posted Jun. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 55

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

By giving us a character like Abdullah, Hala Alyan showed me how radicalization is possible. How much death and injury must a young person experience in his own backyard before he is so overcome with anger and sees no other alternative to stopping it? Fortunately, Riham was a very intelligent woman who knew why Abdullah reacted the way he did. Her openess and honesty validated his anger and provided the opportunity to fight against the injustices in a more productive way.


Posted Jun. 04, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 165

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I did feel there was the possibility of him becoming radicalized, but strong communication within his family helped him put things in perspective and decide there were better ways to help his community.


Posted Jun. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sharonj

Join Date: 01/26/17

Posts: 7

RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I definitely anticipated the story to progress differently here and did appreciate it being a realistic characterization for a young person living in this difficult place and time. But I was glad to see Abdullah was able to work through his anger and ultimately find more peaceful ways to deal with injustice.


Posted Jun. 05, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
reene

Join Date: 02/18/15

Posts: 311

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

Abdullah and Riham had a wonderful relationship. They were able to talk. This was true of many of the young ones in the story. Riham, through her calmness was able to reach out to the children when their parents were caught up in the panic and chaos of the war. It was easy to see why Abdullah, as a teen, would be caught up in the anger and want to fight against the injustices he saw. Riham was very wise to share what she knew first hand about war. It turned Abdullah around, and showed him that there were other ways of handling things.


Posted Jun. 06, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 29

RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I definitely thought Abdullah was going to move towards radicalism. Riham's support and communication helped move him from that path certainly but I also think her visible spirituality helped as well. Riham was a calming influence to all she came in contact with including her nieces and nephew who would sit and listen to her read from the Qu'ran or pray in the evening.

I wonder how the book would have been different if, in fact, Abdullah had become radicalized.


Posted Jun. 07, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 229

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

This was one of the brilliant aspects of the novel: we can compare Abdullah's path with Mustafa's, and Karam's and Atef's, or Latif's. Alyan shows us how and why some young men in the Mideast become radicalized, and beyond that, she shows us a range of ways that individual men respond or work through this test of their values, an unfortunate "rite of passage" in a way, if you are a young man growing up in that part of the world. It's not easy, she is showing us, to sort out what you owe your nation, your God, your family. Young men without people to guide them through this are at risk. Readers, and Abdullah's extended family in that significant scene when he argues with them, have every reason to expect he will make the same tragic mistake that Mustafa did -- and for the same reasons, not an inherent desire to be violent, but out of his deeply caring for the suffering he has witnessed. Fortunately Abdullah has developed a good relationship with Riham and she is able to reach him. This part of the story is a glimmer of hope and a reminder that the overall situation in the Mideast is so much more complex than we realize from our safe distance.


Posted Jun. 10, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyh

Join Date: 01/23/15

Posts: 107

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I thought he would become radicalized, glad he did not.
lad he did not.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 97

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I thought he was on the wrong path and like others that he would become radicalized. His turn about was refreshing.


Posted Jun. 13, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 256

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RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

The highlight in the book, for me, was the transformation in Abdullah's character.


Posted Jun. 14, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ritah

Join Date: 05/26/11

Posts: 41

RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I feared that Abdullah was fated to be an active participant in the 9/11 bombings. However, I was pleased that this possibiity did not occur as it showed how the activism of youth can mature. On the other hand, it was somewhat of a repeat of Atef's changes in attitudes and, maybe, dismissed Abdullah's role in the novel. I thought that there was missed opportunity to develop Abdullah.


Posted Jun. 20, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ColoradoGirl

Join Date: 05/16/16

Posts: 34

RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

I thought that Abdullah was destined to become radicalized and I thought this was very realistically portrayed. I think families can see it happening and feel helpless for how to stop it. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't happen, I think largely because of Riham's intervention and strategies to reach him. I do wish we would have learned more about that.


Posted Jun. 30, 2018 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickic

Join Date: 09/15/14

Posts: 35

RE: What was your impression of Abdullah, Riham's stepson? Were you anticipating a different trajectory for his character?

Initially, I was worried that he would turn to jihad. Fortunately, he moved away from that ideology whether because of his conversations with Riham or secondary to other influences.


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