BookBrowse Reviews The Arsonists' City by Hala Alyan

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The Arsonists' City

by Hala Alyan

The Arsonists' City by Hala Alyan X
The Arsonists' City by Hala Alyan
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2021, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 1, 2022, 464 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Herschbach
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A sprawling intergenerational saga spanning four decades and two continents, The Arsonists' City is a richly rendered portrait of an immigrant family haunted by ghosts of the past.

Beautiful but embittered Mazna, a transplant to California from Syria, once dreamed of a glamorous Hollywood acting career. Instead, she has languished for 40 years in a small town in the California desert, her rocky marriage to Lebanese-born Idris Nasr scarred from the start by secrets and betrayals. Like their parents, Mazna and Idris's three adult children are also grappling with emotional baggage. Ava, the oldest, suspects that her husband is having an affair. Middle-child Mimi, a failed musician, is consumed by envy of his younger sister, Naj, who has hit it big as a rock star but is hiding her sexual orientation from her family.

The Arsonists' City explores these tangled family relationships in immersive detail, weaving in a crowded cast of secondary characters and hopscotching from Syria and Lebanon to California, Texas and New York to tell a story of broken dreams and broken ...

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